Jurgen Van den Broeck making progress with bad knee injury, anticipates return to training in October
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Jurgen Van den Broeck making progress with bad knee injury, anticipates return to training in October

by VeloNation Press at 8:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
Belgian rider hopes to do either Paris-Nice or Tirrreno Adriatico in 2014

Jurgen Van den BroeckDespite recent rumours that his career was in danger and that there was a chance that he would not be able to race again, Tour de France GC rider Jurgen Van den Broeck has made good progress in the recovery of the injuries he suffered during this year’s race.

The Belgian rider has not been training on his bike but both his doctor and the treating physiotherapist are pleased with his progress. So too Van den Broeck himself, who has said that his passion for the sport has been boosted by his enforced rest and that he expects to be back in action early next year.

He has been able to do small commutes on his bike and said that they have helped him at this point in time. “You can’t imagine how much I enjoyed those short trips. Then you realize how much you love cycling,” he said. “I feel good, although I’d feel better if I actually could race. The doctor is optimistic, the recovery goes well and I hope to perform as good as possible for my team in 2014.”

Van den Broeck hit the deck on stage five of the Tour de France, suffering extensive damage to his knee. Those injuries included a partial crack of the posterior cruciate ligament, a partial crack of the medial ligament, an injury of the cartilage, a bone bruise and a bruise of the patella tendon.

He said at the time that he hoped to continue in the race, but with blood needing to be twice drained from the knee, it soon became clear that he was out of the Tour and facing a long – and uncertain - recovery period.

“When you can’t sleep at night because of the pain and in the morning you can’t get to the breakfast table, then you know [it is impossible to continue],” he said. “When team doctor Jan Mathieu drew fluid out of the knee and that actually was all blood, we knew it was a serious internal injury and that starting would be impossible.”

He had surgery on July tenth and now, two and a half months later, doctor Toon Claes is cautiously optimistic. “Today I dare say that everything will be okay, where immediately after the surgery I had some doubt,” he said, admitting that his initial feelings were not positive ones.

“Jurgen had what can definitely be classified as a ‘severe injury’. At the latest checkup on Monday I could determine after clinical tests that the evolution is positive and a scan confirmed it.

“During his recovery Jurgen has, far away from the bike, got the chance to strengthen his body entirely. At the moment he’s even a little bit ahead of schedule.”

Van den Broeck explained how things progressed, saying that after he had an operation on the area that his joint was so swollen that he could only lie on the coach. He said that if he got up to do something, he’d soon have to lie down again as his leg simply wasn’t able to do more. However while others had concerns about his career, he said that he was determined to get back.

“I never really worried if I could come back at my level, but I did think often about how much I would suffer, how the recovery would go and how long it would last,” he said.

Van den Broeck made an important step forward on July 29th when he began working with the physiotherapist Lieven Maesschalck. Being able to do that showed he had made a certain amount of progress, and he has been able to accelerate things as a result of the collaboration.

Maesschalck said that the clinic pushes things, working extensively with Van den Broeck as he is a top sportsman. “Jurgen doesn’t only do his rehabilitation, but also prevention is for example a very important part, three times a week he does aqua-jogging, power exercises, he works on his stability,” he explained.

“I dare to say: Jurgen Van den Broeck will be back. Bike training is part of the recovery process, but isn’t the most important. Also the disciplined way, the mentality with which he comes each day for hours for his rehabilitation is a real model. From the moment he will restart the specific bike training, that will stay combined with exercises, and that definitely for some months, until he’s ready to compete again.”

As regards the timescale for his return to the bike, Van den Broeck will do a test after taking a holiday in mid October. If that goes well, which is expected, he will then be able to start specific training on the bike.

Six weeks after that, Toon Claes states that he and the team will be able to lay out a programme of racing, determining exactly when he will return.

That’s still a long way off, but Van de Broeck has his eye on early season stage races. “In general terms my programme will stay the same, although there’s the chance that after a few years absence I’ll ride Paris – Nice or Tirreno – Adriatico again,” he said.

“The first part of the season I will aim for a good result in the WorldTour stage races. After a week of rest I’ll then start my preparation for the Tour.”

Van den Broeck is regarded as one of Belgium’s best Grand Tour riders. He finished fourth in the 2010 and 2012 Tours de France, and also has a spate of top five finishes in shorter stage races.


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