Tom Leezer makes late return to racing at Taiwan Cup
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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Tom Leezer makes late return to racing at Taiwan Cup

by Shane Stokes at 4:39 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
 
Dutchman had been out since April with knee problems

Tom LeezerTom Leezer (Rabobank) made his return to racing today in the Taiwan Cup, and seems to be free of the knee pain that brought his season to an early halt. The Dutchman had not raced his bike since the first stage of the Tour de Romandie, which came after a busy spring season.

The Taiwan Cup, a hilly, 200-kilometer race, marked the official end to the road season for Rabobank. Also raced by American continental team Kenda p/b 5-Hour Energy, the race featured 16 European teams comprised of four or five riders.

The Japanese rider Kazuki Aoyanagi (Shimano Racing Team) took the win out of a three-man group, which had escaped from a larger bunch of sixteen, including Rabobank rider Carlos Barredo.

Perhaps most importantly for the Dutch team, Leezer came home with the second group, without the nagging knee pain that derailed his 2011 season. Leezer had a strong early season. He got a win with his team in the Tirreno-Adriatico team time trial, and took eighth in Dwars door Vlaanderen. After finishing 46th in both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, the 25-year-old went to Romandie but was plagued by his knee.

Leezer said that the problems began at the famous cobbled Classic. “I abandoned after the first stage of the Tour de Romandie, but I felt it at Paris-Roubaix on April 10,” he explained. “I was then in a vicious circle. I was trying to take pressure off the knee, but then I suffered from irritation of cartilage behind the kneecap.

“Finally, I could gently work on a comeback, in the pool and on the bike. But it looks now as though it was successful.”

Leezer will soon begin training for the 2012 season, and hopes to return to the Classics again. His Rabobank team has lost the leadership of Oscar Freire, who transferred to Katusha, and may look to Leezer, entering his fifth year with the team, for guidance. For now, Leezer seems happy to have put his knee pain behind him.

“I have no complaints,” he remarked after the Taiwan race. “I wondered how it would work, because the strain on your knee in a race is very different than in training. But it went very well. Even though this was not very hard, it gives me a very good feeling.

“Now we wait and see if I have any issues tomorrow, but my feeling right now is that it will be okay.”

With renewed freshness, Leezer will begin preparations for next season later this month. The Classics specialist is looking forward to getting it underway.

“On November 20 I will start to prepare for the new season,” he added. “I’m glad I can start to feel like a rider again. That was the case today. It was a pleasant change.”

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