Matt Lloyd, the king of the mountains of last year's Giro d'Italia whose contract with Omega Pharma-Lotto was terminated in April, is ready for a come back anytime soon, he told Cyclingnews. Lloyd was at the presentation of the European Training Centre of the Australian Institute of Sport that will also be the administrative headquarters of the GreenEdge team in Gavirate, Italy.
"I've been in talks with a couple of teams about when I should come back," Lloyd said. "Fortunately, there are is evidence that it should be happening relatively quickly. I've undergone testing in Germany and different places. I've done research and work with hundreds of people to find out what was wrong. Mainly I was unbalanced in biomechanical and biochemicals after the big operation I had following my crash in Melbourne last year. I needed a shoulder reconstruction. There was some spine damaging everything attached to it but it's all fixed now."
About shortening his contract with Omega Pharma-Lotto, the team he joined in 2007, Lloyd said: "From a team perspective, if they feel that you are not able to perform, they have to let you go. The Giro was coming up and I wasn't 100 per cent ready. It's been a hard road. Fortunately, I got a good support from the Australian Sport Commission. I've had a solid group of people to make it normal again. My progresses are far beyond anything I expected."
Since he became a self-designated "unemployed cyclist," the climber from Melbourne has followed "a normal pre-season program".
"I've just gone to the mountains with my family as they came over for 15 days," Lloyd said. "We've spent six days on the Mont Blanc, up around 4000 metres, hiking with sticks on the snow, which has been good for my body and my mind."
"I haven't signed a contract yet but it should be done in the next couple of days," the Victorian continued. "I wish I could say what's next for me but I can't. There are big races coming up: the Tour de France, the Vuelta a España… and a number of races in between like the Tour of Austria, hundreds of races! Wherever, I'll be happy to rock up on the start line again."
Whether Lloyd will join GreenEdge sooner or later, it's unknown yet but the 27-year-old was full of praise for Shayne Bannan's initiative to create an Australian super team. "This project looks fantastic," Lloyd commented. "In a couple of years down the track, I'd like to be involved in a project like that. The younger generation of Australian cyclists has a depth but they'll need some experience as well."
At the centre in Gavirate, Lloyd had a chat with the next climber coming from Melbourne: Patrick Lane who finished sixth in the Ronde de l'Isard, won a stage at the Giro del Friuli and came third yesterday in a very competitive Italian amateur race in San Vendemiano. The 19-year-old member of the Jayco-AIS team is said to have a great future as a Tour rider as well.