Two and a half years ago, SpiderTech's Lucas Euser was struck by a car while out training on his bike, shattering his knee. This past November, he made a goal to regain his strength lost due to the injury. To accomplish this Euser spent some time in the gym.
“I really worked hard on building that strength and maybe I compromised and didn't spend long hours on the bike, but there is a full season for that,” said Euser.
“I spent three months focused on the gym and regained the strength I've been lacking the last two seasons. I'm looking to test out the new Lucas, which is similar to the old Lucas before his injury.”
“This has been my best winter since the winter of 2008 – which was before my injury. I haven't had a 100% healthy off-season until this season.”
Before his injury, Euser was a strong climber, had represented the US in the world championships and had won the Universt Grand Prix in torrential conditions. However, the return from injury would require a long road to recovery.
“It's taken two and a half years years to finally feel normal. It took six months for the bone to heal and the rehab has been intensive. However, I have learned a lot about myself and how it reacts to certain things. I've just had to take baby steps with this injury – you can't push it.”
While he still suffers with some discomfort associated with his knee injury, Euser has been selected for the Tour Méditerranéen, a race that was on the brink of elimination from 2012 European Tour race calendar. Last month the race organizers came to an agreement with the French Cycling League (FCL) regarding financial obligations that had put the event's license in jeopardy.
This four-day stage race historically ends, and is sometimes decided, with the climb of Mont Faron – a 5.5-kilometer ascent with a 9.9% gradient.
“A lot of European teams look at the Mont Faron as the first mountain top finish of the European season, and it's a barometer to how everyone is riding. Some guys want to come out raging in February and they have goals that continue for March and April. But you also have guys that want to test their legs on Faron – just to see how things are going,” says Euser.
While Euser's goals don't necessarily need for him to be on peak form this early in the season, he does think highly of his SpiderTech team's chances on having a good Tour Méditerranéen.
“We have a roster of guys that can perform on each and every day of that race. I think we'll see how things shake out at the team training camp. We'll see how the sprinters and climbers are doing, but ultimately we're going to be aggressive and be there to race our bikes.”
Euser describes the SpiderTech team as the “Money Ball” of cycling – from the movie from the same name. The movie tells the true story of the 2002 Oakland Athletics baseball team. The As were able to create a winning season with limited funds by recruiting players who weren't marquee players yet still had certain skills that made them an asset overall.
“We may not have two or three guys batting .350, but we have a whole roster of guys batting .275 to .300 - we're all very consistent. A Money Ball team is consistent – day in, day out and we never give up.”