O’Grady recovered sufficiently from injuries to compete at Santos Tour Down Under
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Thursday, January 06, 2011

O’Grady recovered sufficiently from injuries to compete at Santos Tour Down Under

by Shane Stokes at 7:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
 
Tough two-time winner of event will front Team Leopard-Trek

Stuart OThree weeks after revealing that he had broken two ribs in a skiing accident at the Team Leopard-Trek training camp, Stuart O’Grady has been confirmed as taking part in this month’s Santos Tour Down Under.

The 37 year old Australian rider told VeloNation on December 14th that he realised he could no longer win the race due to the injuries and disruption to this training programme. However he said that he still intended to compete in his home tour, then go on to other events.

“Although its obviously not a good thing to happen, looking at the positive side I had a good long solid season, and a very good base in November,” he said then. “So even though it will put me out of contention for the GC at the Tour Down Under, I will hopefully be 100% for the Classics…I'll be there when it counts. It’s only two bones this time!”

O’Grady, who has suffered over twenty fractures during a long and successful pro career, is regarded as one of the most determined and durable riders in the sport. Race director Mike Turtur said today that his confirmed participation was a big boost to the event.

“O’Grady is a household name in Australia, and cycling fans will be delighted to know that he is returning to the race this month with his new outfit Team Leopard - Trek,” he stated.

“Stuey has recovered from the broken ribs he sustained in a ski accident last month and has confirmed he is fit to ride in Adelaide. He is a tough, highly competitive cyclist and local fans will be cheering him on as he competes here on home soil.”

Although he may not have the condition to chase the yellow jersey, O’Grady could well aim for a good stage result or better. He will be backed by team-mates Martin Kristen Mortensen, Davide Vigano, Martin Pedersen, William Clarke, Stefan Denifl and Bruno Manuel Silva Pires during the UCI World Tour race, which begins on January 16th and runs until the 23rd.

He is aware that he is into the final years of his pro career and will want to make the most of the races he has ahead of him. He has been one of the country’s most successful riders, winning three stages in the Tour de France, leading the race on several occasions, and also winning Paris-Roubaix in 2007. With a father and uncle who competed at a high level, he’s been immersed in the sport for a long time.

“Cycling is definitely in his blood, and he has built a successful career in professional cycling,” said Turtur, who underlined his links with the event. “Stuey is a veteran of our race, having competed here numerous times and winning the inaugural Santos Tour Down Under in 1999. He was the first of only two riders to have won the event twice when he clinched the top honours again in 2001.”

A large number of cycling’s top sprinters will compete in the race, including 15-time Tour stage winner Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), André Greipel (Omega Pharma Lotto), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo) and Robbie McEwen (Team RadioShack). The latter, a three-time winner of the Tour de France green jersey, will be joined on the team by Lance Armstrong, who will be riding the final international event of his career.

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