After more than six weeks on the sidelines with a serious knee injury, Vacansoleil-DCM's Bjorn Leukemans made his competitive return to cycling yesterday at the Circuit de Lorraine in France. The 34-year-old Belgian was satisfied with his 15th place in the opening stage of the French race from Rombas to Neuves-Maisons.
The 160km stage came down to a sprint finish and Leukemans found himself right in the thick of things behind eventual winner Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat). Leukemans had not raced since he picked up the injury at the Tour of Flanders on 1 April. He admitted to feeling some pain afterwards but was hopeful that his knee, which didn't require surgery, would hold out until the climax of the race in Hayange on Sunday, close to the Luxembourg border.
"The first ride is all in the past now," he said.
"I still have what a weird feeling in my knee, with an occasional sting, but I did ride out and the condition does not seem so bad. Let's hope I can continue with my knee until Sunday."