John Degenkolb has announced that he is targeting a stage win at the Tour de France as he continues to recover from a training ride crash in Calpe, Spain when a car drove head on into six Giant-Alpecin riders. The 26-year-old, who suffered a fracture to his left radius in the January 23 crash and had reconstructive surgery to save his left index finger, aims to be back racing in "eight to ten weeks".
"The accident was a big shock and I will still need time to recover. At the moment, I am feeling okay and the rehabilitation is going really well. I am very motivated in racing again and I will start my training this week," said Degenkolb in his first press conference since the accident.
"I would like to thank my family and my team for their great support in these difficult times. As you all know, I am a very active person and I was happy that I could count on them in this situation."
Degenkolb will miss the defence of his Milan-Sanremo title this Sunday, along with Paris-Roubaix next month, although the German expects to be back racing within two to two-and-a-half months.
"We can't promise anything at the moment, but if the training goes well, I will probably be able to race again in the next 8 to 10 weeks," he said at the event in Oberursel, Germany.
With stage wins at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana, Degenkolb added that the idea of completing the grand tour triple with a stage win at the Tour de France is helping him focus on recovery and return to his previous levels of form and condition.
"I am eager to be back on my bike as quick as possible. From now, the Tour de France is still three and a half months away and it will be my main target to win a stage there. I believe that I can reach the same level again I had before the accident," he said.
Of the other five riders injured in the accidents, Warren Barguil makes his first return to racing at the Volta a Catalunya next week, while Ramon Sinkledam made his first appearance of 2016 at Tirreno-Adriatico. Fredrik Ludvigsson was the first of the injured riders to recover from his injuries, lining up at La Drôme Classic and the Classic Sud Ardèche - Souvenir Francis Delpech late last month
There is no return date yet for Chad Haga, chest, neck and facial injuries, and Max Walscheid, fractured his hand and tibia.