AG2r's Nocentini back on the bike
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

AG2r's Nocentini back on the bike

by VeloNation Press at 2:04 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Rinaldo NocentiniRinaldo Nocentini (AG2r-La Mondiale) is back on his bike 52 days after a crash in the GP Insubria put a halt to his already successful 2010 campaign.  It was initially reported that the Italian had broken both his tibia and fibula of his left leg, but subsequent examinations revealed that he had also sustained fractures to the malleolus and talus bone in his ankle as well as bones in his foot.

He underwent a successful operation last month to insert two metal rods and fifteen screws to stabilize his leg, and doctors said they expected the cyclist to return to full fitness.  The accident happened after a good start to his season. Nocentini finished a strong second behind Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) in the Tour of the Mediterranean, and had just won the first stage of the Tour du Haut Var, which showed that his form was on the rise.

Nocentini told La Gazzetta dello Sport that he started his rehabilitation two weeks ago and understands it will take a lot of work to fully recover.  "I look in the mirror and I have a hard time recognizing myself: I see my right leg, but I don't know who the left leg belongs to," he joked.

At times he still uses his crutches to walk, but has been doing 9 hour sessions of physiotherapy and exercises in San Rossore [Pisa, Italy] every day to get back on track.

"I'm trying to speed up the recovery. I would like to get back into the races by June: Dauphiné [Libéré] or Switzerland [Tour de Suisse]. I would ride in the Italian Championships in Veneto and then see if the team will give me a chance of taking on the Tour [de France]," he said optimistically.

The 32 year old realizes that his years in the peloton are numbered, but admits the most important part of his season will come down to how well his leg heals:  "But before [I start thinking of the races] I am interested in the leg healing perfectly. The objective is to do a whole season up to [the Giro di] Lombardia."

The public took notice of the Italian last year after he was part of a successful breakaway during stage seven 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 keep the leader's jersey until eventual winner Alberto Contador took it over at Verbier on stage fifteen.


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