Nocentini vows to return stronger than before
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Saturday, March 6, 2010

Nocentini vows to return stronger than before

by Ben Atkins at 7:32 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Rinaldo Nocentini’s hopes of a repeat of his successful 2009 season were dashed after he was brought down in a crash in the GP Insubria last month. Victory in stage 1 of the Tour du Haut Var attested to his good form before the crash brought his season to a halt. The 32-year-old AG2R-La Mondiale rider is determined to return to his former level, although he knows it will take time.

"I’ve been laying down since the accident,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport, “and I know that when I put on my feet below my head the blood and fluid will flow down and make me seem like I have one foot in size 58. But that's okay.”

It was initially reported that the Tuscan had broken both the tibia and fibula of his left leg, but it transpired that he also sustained fractures to the malleolus and talus bone in his ankle as well as bones in his foot. An operation last Wednesday to insert two metal rods and 15 screws was successful though and Nocentini is expected to return to full fitness.

“I don’t know when,” he said, “because it depends on recovery, but I will return to race and I will be even stronger. The doctors have told me that it will take time, but this injury will not affect the rest of my career."

Nocentini has been professional since 1999, but 2009 was by far his most successful season. He was part of the successful breakaway on stage 7 of the Tour de France between Barcelona and Andora-Arcalis and took the yellow jersey. Despite his AG2R-La Mondiale team not being one of the strongest in the race, he managed to hold on the jersey until eventual winner Alberto Contador took it at Verbier on stage 15.

The Italian eventually finished the race in 14th place, 20’45” behind Contador.

It’s possible that in as little as two weeks Nocentini may start some light training on the rollers, and if no complications arise he ought to be able to ride – but not train – on the road. A repeat of his 2009 Tour looks highly unlikely in 2010.

"First I’ll get back to being healthy,” he confirmed, “then I’ll think about training,"


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