Navardauskas back to 100 per cent after heart surgery

Bahrain-Merida say Lithuanian will be considered for Tour Down Under start

Ramūnas Navardauskas has recovered from successful surgery to correct a cardiac arrhythmia that sidelined the 29-year-old Lithuanian since he abandoned the final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine in June.

Bahrain-Merida say their second-year rider's condition "is getting better every day and he is already on the schedule for next season." The team are currently at a training camp in Hvar, Croatia.

"After the ablation treatment done in Munich last September, Ramūnas Navardauskas obtained the physical fitness for complete training and racing in Turin on 2nd December," said Bahrain-Merida team doctor Carlo Guardascione.

"During the cardiology tests in Turin, no arrhythmia or heart problem occurred, so there will be no special therapy. He is 100 percent capable of training with his teammates."

Navardauskas, who has won stages in the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, said he was excited to train at full strength after months of low-intensity efforts.

"I am thankful for the support from my team and the medical staff, because without it the situation would have been very different," he said in a statement posted on the team's website.

Navardauskas underwent surgery in Munich in early September.

"I'm back on the bike now and I'm happy with where I am," he said. "I just need to wait for the first race to see how my form is and how my legs are turning. It's hard to predict how it's going to be in the future, but maybe now I've had a long break, I can use this rest period cleverly and I'll come back even more competitive."

Bahrain-Merida director Gorazd Štangelj said Navardauskas will be considered for the first WorldTour race in January.

"Since the doctors confirmed that he has no health problems and that he is 100 percent capable of all physical work, he is training like all the rest of the riders and he is also a candidate for the first WorldTour Race in 2018, The Tour Down Under," Štangelj said.

The Tour Down Under begins January 16 with a 145 km stage from Port Adelaide to Lyndoch.

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