Bellis prepares for return to racing, Riis pleased with progress
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Friday, April 30, 2010

Bellis prepares for return to racing, Riis pleased with progress

by Conal Andrews at 7:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

British rider Jonathan Bellis is set to make his comeback to racing in less than two month’s time, continuing his long fight back to full fitness. The 21 year old suffered a near-fatal accident last September when he crashed on his moped late at night. The suspicions are that he was the victim of a hit and run.

He suffered head injuries and spent a period of time in a coma, but will finally get back to racing at the British national championships at the end of June.

Saxo Bank’s Bjarne Riis is pleased by his progress, and said that the first racing would be followed by a formal return to the team. “Jonathan must soon undergo some tests in the hospital in England where they have been looking after his rehabilitation. If they are satisfactory, he will be able to compete again in a few months,” Riis stated to Politiken.dk.

“Unless there is something wrong, which is absolutely not anticipated from the reports I have received, he will soon be able to intensify his training under Bradley McGee’s guidance. As things stand right now, the plan is that he will make his comeback in the national championships in late June. After that, he will be ready to again slip back into being part of the team, in line with the plans that we have started to organise [for him].”

One of the issues that Bellis faces is regaining strength after his time in hospital. He lost a lot of muscle mass and will be doing both bike training and general exercises in order to try to build back up.

The Manx rider showed his class at an early age, taking a gold medal for team pursuit in the European track championships in 2006. One year later he won the Under 23 points and scratch races at the same event, but it was his bronze medal in a big sprint at the Under 23 world road race championships which really grabbed the attention.

He began a trial with Team Saxo Bank in the summer of 2008 and further underlined his ability with placings of sixth and seventh on stages of the Tour of Britain. It was a very encouraging result for a 20 year old, and showed that he could mix it with older, more experienced riders.

Bellis would have been expected to keep improving but his career, and indeed his life, was thrown into jeopardy with the late night crash last year. Fortunately things are moving in the right direction, and there is growing hope that he can still fulfil his potential in the sport.

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