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Back injury threatens remainder of Wegmann's season

By:
Susan Westemeyer
Published:
August 07, 2009, 16:24 BST,
Updated:
August 07, 2009, 16:28 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, August 8, 2009
Fabian Wegmann (Milram)

Fabian Wegmann (Milram)

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Milram rider anxious to return in time for Vuelta and Worlds

Fabian Wegmann of Team Milram had hoped to top off a mixed season by riding well in the season's final races, but the effects of an ongoing back injury suffered in June could threaten his late season race schedule. Wegmann will be assessed by physicians next week before a decision is made on when he can next race.

The 29-year-old crashed in the fifth stage of the Dauphiné Libéré in June. At the time, he reported soreness in his neck and shoulders, but he was able to continue the race. Despite continued back problems, he raced the Tour de France and several post-Tour criteriums, but according to his team the injury could put a stop to things.

“Things really don't look good for Wegmann right now,” Milram Sport Director Christian Henn told Cyclingnews. “His back has not gotten better at all, and he will have it more closely examined next week. If it doesn't get better and he can't train, then he won't be able to ride the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg on Sunday. It is up in the air at this point.”

“It would be bitter for us if he is unable to ride, because Fabian is one of our options for success in Hamburg,” Henn added.

Wegmann's season had a good start, with top ten finishes in several races before finishing second at the difficult Monte Paschi Eroica. Wegmann continued with third place finishes in the Brabantsje Pijl and the GP Manuel Indurain, and he topped the spring off by winning the Eschborn-Frankfurt City Loop, formerly called Rund um den Henninger Turm.

The German hoped to continue with his good form in the Dauphiné Libéré, but things went wrong on the fifth stage to Mont Ventoux. A crash early in the stage was responsible for his back injury, and that evening came down with an intestinal infection. Wegmann was able to finish the race, but finished only 70th. His next race was the German road national championships, where he was unable to defend the title he had won the two previous years.

Wegmann went with Milram to the Tour de France, but his back continued to bother him and he wasn't able to approach the race with 100 percent condition. Though, unlike 2008 he was able to reach the finish in Paris this year.

“It was great to reach Paris,” he said on his personal website. “The problem with my back still isn't under control and I will have it looked at next week. I have been suffering from it since the Dauphine and that is just too long.”

Despite the injury cloud hanging over him Wegmann said he hopes to return at the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg (August 16) and the GP Plouay a week later. After that he plans to take part in his first Vuelta a España. "At the Vuelta I want to get the right form, which I will need the end of September for the Worlds in Mendrisio to ride as good a race as last year.” He finished seventh in the road race in Varese in 2008.

However, he has a personal highlight before the racing continues. As he put it, “While it is routine for me to ride races, on Friday I will do something brand new: I will marry my girlfriend Johanna.”

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