Nuyens returns to training, could race in a month’s time
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Friday, March 30, 2012

Nuyens returns to training, could race in a month’s time

by VeloNation Press at 6:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
 
Belgian fighting back from fractured hip

Nick NuyensHe won’t be able to line out in the Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday to defend his title, but Nick Nuyens is celebrating a small triumph this weekend as he is able to return to training and, therefore, is a step closer to getting back to racing.

The Saxo Bank rider crashed hard in the prologue of Paris-Nice on March 4, and suffered a hip fracture with the impact. That immediately put paid to the defence of his title and meant that his spring plans changed completely.

Now, according to team press officer Anders Damgaard, he’s ready to take the next step in his recovery.

“There is good news for Nick as he is starting to train again today,” he told Sporten.dk. “This is the first day, and he will be on the bike for an hour today. It will be nice and quiet. He works with our therapists and our doctors, and it’s going very well.”

Nuyens pulled off one of the biggest results of his career one year ago when he triumphed in the Ronde van Vlaanderen. He and Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) marked a late attack by Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek), then the Belgian proved quickest in the sprint.

Cancellara, who finished third, and fourth-placed Tom Boonen (Quick Step) had been the race favourites, but Nuyens showed that his tactics and strength could make the difference.

In December he revealed that work with a mental coach had enabled him to go deeper into his reserves, pushing himself harder but also having a certain side effect.

“As a sportsman you sometimes go so deep that you throw up,” he told the Belgian Radio 1 programme Touché. “I can do that now.”

He’ll hope to get back to his top form as soon as is possible. It’s impossible for him to compete in the spring Classics, but he’ll pinpoint goals a little later in the year. The timetable for his estimated return puts him in the frame for the Tour de France.

“It is too early to say now when he is ready to race again,” said Damgaard. “But we hope he will be ready in late April or early May. We hope he is fresh and ready at the time. His sports director Tristan Hoffman says he looks very good.”

The team is competing without a clear leader at present due to the suspension of Alberto Contador. He might return to the team, but will be unable to do so until August.

If selected, that would give Nuyens freedom to ride aggressively in the Tour and to chase stages there. The Olympic road race in London is also a likely target for the punchy rider.

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