Kim Kirchen (Katusha) wishes to return to racing, according to Het Nieuwsblad. The Luxembourg rider suffered a heart attack at the Tour de Suisse in June this year but hopes to resume his career with the aid of an implanted defibrillator.
Kirchen collapsed after stage 7 of the Tour de Suisse and was subsequently placed in a medically induced coma. He spent almost three weeks in hospital. It is understood that he recently had the defibrillator implanted and has undertaken some light training spins.
However, if Kirchen does indeed get the all-clear to return to racing, it seems increasingly likely that he will have to do so with a new team. His Katusha manager Andrei Tchmil is opposed to Kirchen’s plans to return, given the seriousness of his condition in June.
“It’s irresponsible for someone to race now when in June he was close to death,” Tchmil said. “It’s a time bomb that could explode at any moment. I’m prepared to offer him a job on the team staff, but not as a rider.”
Tchmil had already offered Kirchen a place on the team’s backroom staff at a meeting between the pair in July. For his part, 2008 Fleche Wallone winner Kirchen has consistently reiterated his wish to return to the peloton next season.