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Belgian Bart Wellens could make his return to cyclo-cross racing as early as next week, sport.be reported Friday. The two-time elite World Champion missed the first part of the season due to the cytomegalovirus and was planning to make his comeback in December, but his recuperation is going better than expected.
Wellens is now looking at the Koksijde World Cup on November 28 as his first race back, but must first earn a selection to the team from national selector Rude De Bie.
The 31-year-old trained with his teammates Zdenek Stybar, Kevin Pauwels and Tom Meeusen this week, and said he was able to do some attacks and felt good during the session.
"It felt like a homecoming on the playground," said Wellens, who reviewed the session with coach Peter T'Seyen. "The feeling was really good. It was pleasant to experience that again.
"I was able to finish three blocks of my planned training schedule. It was damned painful, but what do you expect after being completely off for about four months."
Wellens was included in the pre-selection for the Belgian team for the upcoming World Cup, the first step in getting a shot at the Koksijde race. Team manager Danny De Bie said he wouldn't be surprised to see his rider selected.
"A number of the Belgians are invariably back between 15th and 30th place - we assume that in his present condition, Bart would do even better, but ithe decision is obviously up to Rudy," said the manager.
After the race in Koksijde, Wellens plans to head to Valencia with the team for two weeks, taking part in the Spanish World Cup in Igorre on December 6, then returning to Belgium for the Vlaamse Druivenveldrit in Overijse (December 13), and the World Cups in Kalmthout (Dec. 20) and in Zolder (Dec. 26).