Top New Zealand women's cyclist Catherine Cheatley is to begin her recovery process after undergoing a vein enlargement operation. The Cheerwine rider underwent the surgery on her left thigh in Christchurch, New Zealand on Monday to help the rider return to her full potential after doing damage to the vein in a crash while riding in the United States of America last season.
"What they did was to take a vein out of [her] ankle, and attach it to the main artery - which comes out of the stomach - supplying blood to her leg," Catherine's husband and coach Dayle Cheatley told NZPA. "They are expecting a pretty quick recovery from her because she's nice and fit and healthy."
In order to aid her recovery process, which is hoped to see the rider back in form for August's Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Cheatley completed a solid block of training leading into the operation.
"She's done a huge base [of mileage] before the operation," said Dayle. "She came into it very, very fit. And because of the training she needed a couple of weeks off the bike anyway. This was done on purpose because we knew what was coming up."
The potentially career-threatening injury was discovered just before the rider's return home at the end of last season, and forced her to withdraw from the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. Without the surgery the future for Cheatley as a professional racer looked grim, however with the surgery out of the way Cheatley is focused on recovering to her former glory, which would likely see her contest the Manchester Track World Championships before returning to the US for another season with the Cheerwine squad.
"Bike NZ has given her a free run, to get her fit and hopefully right for the worlds and Olympics," Dayle Chealey said. "And if she gets through these okay, it's all go [for a second season] with Cheerwine."
The rider will undergo rehabilitation in Invercargill on New Zealand's south island.