Lloyd promises to bounce back from Omega Pharma Lotto disappointment
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lloyd promises to bounce back from Omega Pharma Lotto disappointment

by VeloNation Press at 4:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Bannan says GreenEdge won’t move on rider yet

The 2010 Giro d’Italia King of the Mountains Matthew Lloyd has vowed to bounce back from his dismissal from the Omega Pharma Lotto team, saying that he would return as strong as before.

“I will be back. There's no way I could even think about leaving the sport - it's part of my life, it's what I do,” he told AAP.

“I'm eager to make sure the physical condition continues to develop in a really good way and make sure when I come back I'm the same, if not stronger than I was before.”

Lloyd has had a very difficult few months, crashing hard in December and suffering shoulder and spinal injuries. His training was compromised by that and when he was rebuilding form, he was hit by a car in Italy in February, hurting his knee.

Those two incidents together ensured that he is behind on his usual level of form. He returned to racing in the recent Vuelta al Pais Vasco, but dropped out before the end of the stage race.

His Omega Pharma Lotto team then announced on Thursday that it was bidding adieu to the rider for unspecified breaches of team policy, bringing to an end a working relationship that had begin in 2007. “Our team's image cannot be connected to Matthew's behaviour any more,” it said in a statement, “therefore this unanimous decision taken by the BCC board of directors. We follow a policy of zero tolerance of which we cannot divert.”

It stressed that there was no question of the rider having used banned products.

Lloyd said he couldn’t speak about the specifics of what happened as his agent was still talking with the team, presumably in relation to a settlement, but he said that he was doing okay personally.

“I feel naturally as happy as I can be - I have a new house here (in Italy), which I've been working on,” he said. “I've obviously gone through a stage in January and February that was difficult, with various injuries.”

Meanwhile Shayne Bannan, the general manager of the new GreenEdge team, said that it would not enter into negotiations with him until things settled down in relation to the Belgian squad. He was rumoured earlier this year to have already approached several Australian riders prior to the team’s debut next year, but said that GreenEdge would not approach Lloyd.

“'Technically, we could. But we are not vultures. It's a bit too early to discuss that with him at this stage,” he said.

Cycling Australia said earlier this week that while it couldn’t get involved in the dispute between the rider and the team, it would seek to support him in whatever way it could.

“Matthew Lloyd’s been part of that program,” it told SBS. “So there’ll be a natural link now formed between both Matthew White and Matthew Lloyd to establish where things are at for Matt and to see where Cycling Australia, or the national program, can potentially help in the short-term and long-term to assist him getting back into the peloton at the pro level.”

White is acting as Cycling Australia professional men’s road coordinator. He said that the rider was a valued part of the country’s list of pro riders. “We’ll do whatever we can to help him because he’s one of Australia’s superstars and we all want what is best for Matt Lloyd.”

Meanwhile Bannan suggested that Lloyd had been under pressure as a result of what he had been through. “'He has been struggling with the rehabilitation and length of time. He has been out of competition since September last year,” Bannan said, following a dinner with him on Thursday in Varese in Italy. “'I would imagine it plays on your mind.'”

Lloyd is a talented climber, as evidenced by his KOM title in last year’s Giro, plus his stage win in the race.


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