Leg healed from femur fracture, Irvine itching to return to racing in Tour of Portugal
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Friday, August 2, 2013

Leg healed from femur fracture, Irvine itching to return to racing in Tour of Portugal

by Shane Stokes at 8:55 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
Irish UnitedHealthcare rider’s recovery is ahead of schedule

Martyn IrvineWorld scratch race champion Martyn Irvine will make a long-awaited return to competition next week when he lines out in the Tour of Portugal.

The UnitedHealthcare rider has been out of action due to a bad crash in the Tour of Taiwan on March 21st. He was riding one of his first road races with his new team but fell and suffered a proximal femur fracture.

In the four and a half months since then he has made a rapid recovery and while he still has some lingering symptoms, he feels he is ready to get back racing.

“I have been feeling normal on the bike in the last three weeks,” he told VeloNation. “I am back cycling five weeks now, although the first couple of weeks were depressing with the SRM numbers not telling me anything that I wanted to hear.

“The last few weeks I have been trying to get more kilometres in. The leg is still not 100 percent. The bone has healed, it is not like it will break again. I just have a pain in the leg walking down the stairs….it could be irritation from the metalwork.

“However on the bike, my numbers are good now when I am training. I don’t know if that is down to freshness, but at the same time I think I probably don’t have a lot of endurance as I haven’t done much. I am going to jump right in at the deep end. Give me two weeks, I’ll let you know how it goes!”

Irvine has shown rapid progress during his recovery. On May 28th he told VeloNation that he was starting back on the indoor trainer, just over two months after his fall [see video interview here]. “I am way ahead of schedule,” he said then. “The doctors are expecting me to still be in bed, so I am delighted.”

At the time he said that he hoped to resume racing at the end of August or early September. He’s now well ahead of that timeframe: after riding, and winning, the Danny O’Shea Memorial time trial in Wicklow on July 20th, he’ll return to international competition on Wednesday when he starts the Tour of Portugal.

“If the doctors were calling it, they probably wouldn’t have me racing until next year,” he explained. “But I’m looking at people competing and feeling sick not to be there with them. At the same time, I am thinking I would like a job next season. I don’t want to write off the whole year. I also want to show I am a good road rider. I haven’t really done that yet.”

Irvine has a one year contract from UnitedHealthcare and doesn’t know if it will be extended. He’s yet to race, to show he can return to his previous level, and the team is still working on its own plans. “We are still building our 2014 roster and will provide updates in the coming weeks,” a spokesman told VeloNation.

Irvine knows that if he can notch up a good result or two before the end of the season, it’ll greatly boost his chances of having a ride, either with UnitedHealthcare or elsewhere.

“I never really got a chance to show what I am worth,” he said. “Okay, I did win the a world title, and they got a bit of publicity out of that. It is old news to me because I broke my leg since. But it is still a good thing, I suppose, to have a world champion on the books.

“My focus now is on getting back and riding well. I am out of here on Monday, heading over to Lisbon. I had a quick scan over the route…I don’t think there are mountains every day, but I don’t think there is going to be many flat roads.

“I’ll race there, see what I can do, and then the Tour of Alberta is in early September. I’m not sure about the Tour of Britain, we’ll see. I think if I went well I might get picked but I also feel there is probably a list of riders who want to do the Tour of Britain. We’ll see what happens.”

Because he has hardly raced this season, he plans to continue for some time. “As I am fresh, I am looking at the track…I want to fly my world championship bands around the velodrome somewhere,” he said.

“In addition, the whole new criteria is a bit different – even though you are world champion, if you want to do anything else you have to qualify for it. It is a pretty hard programme…you can’t just say that you are coming to race. You have to qualify to get into the World Cups. I need to look ahead a bit and figure out what I need to do to get where I want to go.”

In talking to Irvine, two things are clear: he retains his strong work ethic, and he’s also hungry to show what he can do.


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