Lars Bak crashed out of the Giro d'Italia on the final stage of the race, suffering multiple fractures and a punctured lung, yet he remains desperate to secure a place in Lotto Soudal’s nine-rider squad for the Tour de France after training hard since his injuries.
The Danish rider finished the Halle-Ingooigem race in Belgium on Wednesday and even worked hard for his Lotto Soudal teammates to try to convince team manager Marc Sergeant to select him.
“The doctors told me that I had one percent chance to make it to the Tour because I had a broken collarbone, ribs, hand and some other injuries. But I feel I’m physically ready. But it may be that the doctors don't dare to let me ride because my fractures are still healing,” Bak told Danish TV2 television channel.
“Our doctor told me: ‘Lars, I've never ever seen anything like this in my entire career. You have 15 fractures in your body, why the hell have aren’t you hurting more, man?” Bak revealed, insisting that while his legs hurt after the Halle-Ingooigem race, he feels no pain from his Giro d’Italia injuries when he sits on the bike.
Bak got back on his bike just four days after his crash on the road to Turin. He has carefully stepped up his training in the three weeks since the Giro d’Italia and is convinced he has the form for the Tour de France, where he usually helps sprinter Andre Greipel in the sprints or targets stage victories.
“I have trained really hard, man. Last week I rode almost 800 kilometres. My shape is certainly not bad. I didn’t have problems staying on the front in the race. I fought like crazy. Sometimes I trained three times a day,” he claimed.
Bak underwent a series of checks and scans in Bruges after the race to allow the Lotto Soudal team doctors to decide if he should be allowed to ride the Tour de France. A one-day race in Belgium is a simple test but a three-week Grand Tour could prove detrimental to his health. The doctors fear he could crash and suffer further, more complex fractures, yet Bak wants to ride.
“A normal person would be in bed for two months but cyclists are not normal. I love my job. For me the Tour is huge and we have a really good team. We just won four stages in the Giro where I rode well. But then I took a big hit. But I don’t want to throw in the towel. I said to myself. I'll f**king do everything to help the team. I'm slim too, I’m just as lightweight now as I usually am when I have completed the Tour.
“I fought like a pig. I would really like to ride the Tour de France.”