Reus to continue pro comeback in Volta ao Algarve
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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reus to continue pro comeback in Volta ao Algarve

by Shane Stokes at 6:18 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Dutchman ready to step up with UnitedHealthcare

Kai ReusGetting ready for his first full pro season since walking away from the bike in September 2010, Kai Reus will ride his first race in the Volta ao Algarve, which takes place from February 15th to 19th.

The 26 year old Dutchman will compete with the UnitedHealthcare team in 2012, returning to top level racing with the American squad and aiming for big things after what is the second long break in his career.

He will hone his form with a two week training camp in California, beginning on January fourth. More details of his 2012 racing programme will be finalised there in consultation with team management, including Henrik Redant.

Reus won the junior world road race championship in 2003 and then took the Under 23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège three years later. The Rabobank youth rider was signed to the pro team and a big future was expected, but his career was plunged into uncertainty in July 2007 when he crashed while training in the Alps, ending up in a coma.

He battled back and won a stage plus finished fourth overall in the 2009 Tour of Britain, showing that he was over the effects of that bad crash. However he then contracted mononucleosis and struggled to find his best form. Those frustrations led to an announcement in September 2010 that he was quitting the sport.

Fortunately he got his motivation back after several months of speed skating. He began racing again in the Dutch national time trial championships at the end of June and finished a solid thirteenth out of 40 riders. In August Reus won stage one of the Tour de Mi Aout en Bretagne with the small De Rijke team, showing that his comeback was progressing well.

He negotiated with the United Healthcare team and worked out a deal for the season ahead, giving him a chance to once again compete in some of cycling’s big pro events.

On Tuesday he finished seventh in the Dutch individual pursuit title on the track. He was hoping for more, but can take consolation from the fact that he was almost eight seconds faster than the time he set several weeks ago in a test in Apeldoorn.

Another plus was that he was two places higher than he was two years ago when he first rode on the track in Alkmaar, despite feeling that the second velodrome suits him less.

“I want to stress that difference between Apeldoorn and Alkmaar was not working in my favour,” he wrote on his personal site. “I had only ridden once in Apeldoorn and the shape of the curve is very different than in Alkmaar. There the straights are longer and curves less sharp. As a beginning track rider, I feel more at home in Alkmaar.”


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