Mandatory break for Spitz

Injury forces lengthy break for Olympic champion

Cross country Olympic champion Sabine Spitz is getting a longer break than she expected after undergoing groin surgery in December. The surgery addressed "persistent muscular problems" she experienced throughout last season.

Speaking of her decision to under the operation, marathon World Champion Spitz said, "It was not an easy decision, but to continue my career, there was no alternative. It is a major turning point after 16 years in high-performance sport. But I'm still having fun mountain biking and am full of motivation for the next few years."

While her competition is logging early season base miles, Spitz's recovery from the surgery itself and related complications are keeping her off the bike. She is expected to resume light training in mid-February, and on March 1, she will head to Cyprus to get some miles in her legs.

"I'll have missed a good two or three months of preparation for the season, which starts in April," said the Central Ghost rider. "Whether I can take the start in the first two World Cups is questionable at the moment and depends on how I progress and how well I can compensate for my (training) deficits."

The German champion noted that such and injury and its recovery is a new situation for her. Knowing she must shift her season's goals as a result, she said, "The most important thing for me is to again be 100 percent healthy."

"Let's see what is still possible in the second half of the season. I'm thinking in particular of the Marathon World Championships in St. Wendel (Germany) in August and the cross country World Championships in Canada in September."

"But no matter how this year goes, my long term goal is the 2012 Olympic Games."

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