Breschel highly doubtful for Classics, could even miss Tour de France
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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Breschel highly doubtful for Classics, could even miss Tour de France

by Conal Andrews at 9:11 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
 
Danish rider still struggling with knee issues

Matti BreschelHe recently stated that there was nothing seriously wrong with his knee, playing down the significance of his withdrawal from the Volta ao Algarve, but now Matti Breschel is facing up to the reality that the joint is simply not working as it should. As a result, the Spring Classics appear to be lost, and there is also a chance that he could miss the Tour de France.

“I dare not predict when I can race again. The only thing that is certain is that this time I will use the time it takes to become fully better,” the Dane told Ekstra Bladet.

This softly, softly approach extends to July and beyond, if needs be. “I hope, of course, to be ready for the Tour, but if by that time I am only 80 percent of my best level, I do not want to go. The team is chasing after the victory. We believe that Robert Gesink could win, and so it is no good to start without being completely ready.”

Breschel is one of the most promising riders on the Rabobank team, having finished third in the 2008 world road race championships and then taking the runner-up slot in Geelong last year. In fact, he was convinced he had the rainbow jersey won, but was passed close to the line by a thundering Thor Hushovd.

Moving to the Dutch squad after several years at Saxo Bank represented a fresh start for him, and one that he planned to make the most of. He won the Dwars door Vlaanderen in 2010 but on other occasions found himself playing second fiddle to Fabian Cancellara, the victor in Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders. He had hoped things would be different this year.

The frustration Breschel must be experiencing is clear after his comments one week ago. Speaking about his withdrawal on stage three of the Volta ao Algarve, he said that he had been able to train fine without problems. “[The knee] is ok. I've been on the bike since then and noticed nothing of it,” he told sporten.tv2.dk.

“The doctor knows my history and knows my problems. He said it was nothing serious, and it was not something I should be worried about. The knee just takes some time. Perhaps it was just too early to try to race on it."

Thinking then that things should be okay, it’s now clear that his consultations over the past week have led him to believe once again that the issue is more serious than he might have hoped. He’s consequently looking further ahead in the season, believing that targeting the world championships on home soil might be a better goal. “I think the positive is that I could now have energy and mental strength late in the season,” he explained. “Now I will do everything to build myself up for the world championships in September.”

Of course, it’s premature to completely rule out the Tour. But if he does decide to target the worlds as his major target, he’s got plenty of reason to do so. Firstly, with medals of bronze and silver, gold appears well within reach. Secondly, the race is thought likely to suit strong riders who can sprint well at the end of a long race; he fits into this category.

And, perhaps best of all, the race will take place in his home country. If he were to scoop the rainbow jersey there, the experience would be one of the best possible for a professional sportsman, and more than make up for what has been months of frustration over his knee. That thought will keep him motivated in the months ahead.
 

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