Van Winden given contract extension and thus additional time to recover from surgery complications
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Friday, August 16, 2013

Van Winden given contract extension and thus additional time to recover from surgery complications

by Shane Stokes at 2:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Former Tour de l’Avenir stage winner fighting back from iliac artery issue

Dennis Van WindenAfter suffering an infection after the iliac artery surgery he underwent in mid-November and then needing two further operations over the following six weeks, Dennis van Winden feared that his career could be over. However the Dutchman has been given a new contract by his Belkin Pro Cycling team, the squad showing commendable faith in the rider.

“I’ve been out for almost six months and I haven’t collected any results this season,” said van Winden, speaking about the difficulties he has faced and the struggle to get back to top form. “I’m very happy with a big team like Belkin, which gives me the opportunity to return to my old level.”

Van Winden first experienced symptoms of the iliac artery issue four years ago, the same year that he won stage nine of the Tour de l’Avenir. It began with a numbness in his right leg and progressed to the point where he was putting out very little power with the affected limb.

The issue is caused by a kink to the artery, which carries blood from the heart into the legs. Other riders such as Stuart O’Grady and Theo Bos have previously experienced the issue and had successful treatment, returning to their old level.

However van Winden’s complication meant that the recovery has been far more complicated than originally envisaged. While he was able to return to competition in the Rund um Köln, a number of DNF’s followed. He managed to finish the Tour de Wallonie and the RideLondon Classic, albeit outside the top 100, and is now ready to work hard in order to rebuild his form.

His new one year deal will give him the platform to do that, and the peace of mind of not needing to scrabble a new contract together.

“We once signed Dennis with a reason”, said directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven explained, talking about the team’s faith in him. “Now that he suffered a setback, we don’t want to drop him immediately. We’re always looking to win but we’re a family too. We’re giving Dennis the opportunity to show us what he’s capable of.”

The attitude means that the 25 year old has the chance to show what he can do. Given his early promise and the fact that his iliac artery problem was hampering him for several seasons, there are grounds to believe that over time, he can notch up some very good results.

The show in faith in him is something that he will be grateful for, and determined to reward. He’ll continue to race this season, then put in a good winter in the hope of hitting the ground running next spring.

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