Bert De Waele's string of bad luck continues, misses season start in Kuurne
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bert De Waele's string of bad luck continues, misses season start in Kuurne

by Jered Gruber at 10:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Landbouwkrediet rider has been out for seven months with knee problems

Usually, when one nets their best ever result, it's a great sign of things to come. For experienced Belgian, Bert De Waele, it was the harbinger of doom. The Landbouwkrediet rider took a fantastic fourth place finish at last year's Amstel Gold Race, but then the bad luck set in.

The 35 year old found himself in a big crash at the end of May in the third stage of the Tour of Belgium. The result was a broken knee. Typically, it's a simple enough thing to fix, but considering that De Waele was supposed to make his first race start today in seven months at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, it's obvious that things went a bit awry.

The crash was bad, but the original recovery went at least passably. De Waele returned to racing with the help of injections to his knee, but unfortunately the injections couldn't hold off the storm for more than three months. At the end of July, De Waele acquiesced to the pain and thus began the next run of surgeries.

"There was a first operation, then a second, because the fluid in my knee continued to accumulate. After the second, I was told that a third surgery could prevent further top class sport, but I had to swallow it anyway," said De Waele at the Landbouwkrediet team presentation on Wednesday to De Morgen. "I feared the end of my career."

De Waele's career didn't end with that final surgery though, in fact, it seemed to do the trick: "Fortunately, everything turned out fine."

The recovery and rehabilitation process over the past seven months was a slow one, but everything looked set for a return to racing in today's Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

"Because I have not raced since July, I will of course start on Sunday in Kuurne with a huge disadvantage. I hope to be back in April to my old level," said the Belgian on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, the run of bad luck hasn't quite finished with De Waele just yet. A cold put paid to his first race start in seven months, and De Waele was once again watching the racing instead of participating.

This time, it's at least only a cold, so it shouldn't be too much longer before the late blooming rider gets his chance to start his race build up in hopes of improving on last year's fourth place finish on the Cauberg.

The 2007 GP Wallonie winner knows that his days as a professional cyclist are beginning to run down though, despite his excellent results in 2010. He doesn't seem too bothered by the looming end of his career though.

"I'll hopefully race at least another year. Landbouwkrediet will stop its sponsorship after 2012 - I will be 37 years old. A good age. Maybe I can then get a place in the following car, which is something that Gerard Bulens and I have already talked about."



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