Matthew Lloyd shows he’s back on track after tough year
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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Matthew Lloyd shows he’s back on track after tough year

by Shane Stokes at 3:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Runner-up slot pleases Lampre ISD team

Matthew LloydMatthew Lloyd today showed clear signs that he is well on his way back to top form after a very difficult 2011 when he raced home second in the 2012 Australian road race championships.

The 2008 title holder was one of three riders who was clear on the final lap, attacking hard on the Mount Buninyong climb with eventual winner Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge), being later joined by Richie Porte (Sky Procycling) and picking up silver in the sprint.

As important as the result itself was, he derived an equal amount of satisfaction from how his actual sensations were.

“It's incredible - I've never actually felt better in cycling, as far as I can remember,” he said after the finish. “It's been awesome, because you come into an environment with a new team and you know the injuries are gone.

“My ambition for the day was to put the (race) numbers back on and rejoin the professional ranks. The key factor for me was just the involvement and feeling like I was doing what I love. Maybe that's reflected in the results.”

Lloyd picked up the best results of his career in 2010 when he won a stage and took the mountains classification in the Giro d’Italia. He looked set for a strong 2011 but instead ran into injury issues early on. He crashed in Melbourne shortly before Christmas, and was then hit by a car in Italy in February.

Lloyd then started the Vuelta al Pais Vasco the following week, but failed the start the final day’s time trial. He also failed to start the Volta a Catalunya, after which relations broke down with his then-team. It fired him, citing behavioural issues, and leaving him without a contract.

He later recovered from his injuries and lined out in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour and some other events to prepare for 2012. In November the Lampre ISD team announced that it had signed him for the season, thus reuniting him with Roberto Damiani, who he had worked with in the past.

“Lloyd is very motivated to give the best and he's happy to be in a team he has always appreciated,” the latter said then.

General manager Giuseppe Saronni has now welcomed his nationals result, which proves that things are on track. “Lampre-ISD is very happy for Lloyd,” he said. “He showed immediately his strong will to be protagonist in 2012, so his experience in our team began in the best way.”

The climber will now travel to Adelaide, where he will unite with six others from the team in advance of the Down Under Classic on January 15th and the Santos Tour Down Under, which begins two days later.


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