Britain’s Jonny Bellis has confirmed he will ride the British National Road Race Championships on June 27, his first race since his life-threatening accident last September.
21-year-old Bellis crashed while riding his scooter in Italy and suffered serious head injuries. He was kept in an induced coma for several weeks before slowly making a recovery. He has undergone intense physiotherapy but has made a remarkable recovery and has been cleared to race again as a professional with the Saxo Bank team.
He will ride the 180km national championship road race alongside fellow Manxman Mark Cavendish. David Millar, Daniel Lloyd, Jeremy Hunt, Roger Hammond, Adam Blythe, Russell Downing, Geraint Thomas, Ian Stannard, Steve Cummings and Peter Kennaugh are also set to ride. Bradley Wiggins has entered but is expected to miss the race as he focuses on his final build-up for the Tour de France.
Back in Quarrata
Bellis returned to Quarrata in Tuscany, close to where his accident happened, for the first time in mid-May and is back there this week for a block of intense training.
He has clocked up several five-hour rides and has done some speed work with the other British riders who are also based in Quarrata. Despite his rapidly improving form, Bellis has no real goals for his first race back. Just being in the race is enough.
"There wasn't much chance of me surviving at the beginning. But now my health's fine and my fitness is improving," he told the Press Association.
"There's still a lot to learn to do but I'm just going to ride the nationals to get back into the routine of racing," he said. "I don't expect much of myself – I'll just ride and see how long I can do. If it's 10k or 100k, I'll just be happy to pin a number on."