Stuart O’Grady to return to action in Jayco Herald Sun Tour
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Stuart O’Grady to return to action in Jayco Herald Sun Tour

by Ben Atkins at 10:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
 
Australian coming back from Vattenfall Cyclassics crash injuries as part of national team

stuart oStuart O’Grady (Orica-GreenEdge) will make his comeback from the injuries sustained in the Vattenfall Cyclassics next month, as he lines up as part of the Australian national team in the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. The 39-year-old South Australian was brought down in a crash, close to the finish of the Hamburg, Germany, race, on August 19th, and fractured his shoulder and four ribs.

“The crash threw everything out of schedule,” said O’Grady this week.  “It was eight weeks either in hospital or on the coach in rehab, but you’ve just got to be flexible and deal with it.”

O’Grady will start the race with a 15cm plate still in his shoulder, held on with eight screws, which he will have in place for the remainder of his career.

“I feel I really need to kick start my season as early as possible,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy, but as you get to the end of your career you realise how much you want to be in form all the time.”

The 39-year-old has used the Sun Tour as a return from injury before, as he started the 2007 race - in its old mid-October slot - three months after being almost killed in a serious crash in the Tour de France. He returned to win the race the following year, but hopes that the January time slot of this year’s race will help him on his way to a 17th appearance at the Tour de France, which would equal the record set by George Hincapie.

“I’m in full training mode,” O’Grady said.

“At the moment I’m spending every hour on the bike I can, which isn’t easy at this time of the year when you’ve been away for 10 months and everyone wants to see you and you want to see them.  So it’s a fine balance.”
 
“The head is saying one thing and the body the other.  I’ve still got a funky feeling in my shoulder with the plate but you get used to it.”

As a past winner of what is one of Australia’s biggest races, there are any number of reasons for O’Grady to line up at this year’s edition of the Sun Tour, even if it does mean exchanging his Orica-GreenEdge strip for that of the Australian national team.

“It’s the ‘Sun Tour’ and it’s the 60th edition, there are two pretty good reasons,” he joked. “We don’t get to race enough in Australia so when we do get the chance I think it’s important we do so.
 
“It’s a big month with the ‘Sun Tour’, the nationals and Tour Down Under,” he explained. “It’s a race I’ve won and it’s good to be able to pay back and say thanks, especially to Gerry Ryan who has supported me since the beginning.
 
“I’ll be having a crack, but realistically I’ll be at the service of one of our other boys.  We have a strong team and we won’t be short of guys on form.”

O’Grady will be joined in the Australian national team by Orica-GreenEdge teammates Simon Clarke, Matt Goss and national champion Simon Gerrans, as well as Garmin-Sharp’s Nathan Haas, and 20-year-old Jay McCarthy, who has just signed with O’Grady’s former Saxo-Tinkoff team.

“There is a lot of experience in the team and plenty of guys to look at, see how they read the race and get some good tips off,” said McCarthy.
 
“As a 20-year-old moving up into a WorldTour team it’s going to be a big step but I spent two weeks with the [Saxo-Tinkoff] team last month in Spain for a team pre season get-together and I think I have chosen a really good team for me to help along my development.”

Australian national team for the Jayco Herald Sun Tour (January 3rd-6th 2013)
Simon Clarke, Simon Gerrans, Matthew Goss, Nathan Haas, Jay McCarthy, Stuart O’Grady

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