Yesterday (Wednesday) was the first time that Classics specialist Nick Nuyens got back on the bike in two months. The former Tour of Flanders and Het Nieuwsblad winner had an operation in September on his hip injury sustained in the 2012 Paris-Nice. The injury wrecked his Classics season, and he is now building towards hitting the ground running in 2013.
“I’ve not really started training yet, but yesterday was the first time on the bike in two months, just for one hour each time,” Nuyens told Cyclingnews on Thursday.
“But I’ve been doing exercises my osteopath has told me to do, and aqua-jogging, I have to make sure I keep exercising my hip, so I don’t lose too much power.”
With his 2012 Classics season wiped out by the injury after abandoning Paris-Nice, Nuyens came back to racing through the summer, but says “it was very frustrating. The wound healed but I could tell I wasn’t able to race at full power, I didn’t feel any pain but my back was a bit twisted.”
“Then we did a three-dimensional scan right after the races in Canada [GP Montreal and GP Quebec] and there was still a two-centimetre fracture, not exactly in the bone but close to it. So I had an operation straight away.”
“It was very good of Saxo Bank to let me have that surgery in September. I was supposed to continue racing for another month but this way I could recover earlier and be ready to go full gas for training for the Classics in two or three weeks time. That’s a little earlier than I usually do, but I want to be sure I’m ready.”
“But right now I’m still recovering, I can’t do running, for example, so this is why I’m doing the aqua-jogging and the exercises my osteopath tells me to do.”
Nuyens will head with his new team for 2013, Garmin, for a first training camp on December 14th for 10 days in Arizona, before heading to Spain post-Christmas for more training in warm weather. “It can be cold there, too, but it’s always nicer than in Belgium at that time of year.”
His first race of the season will almost certainly be the Tour of Mallorca, followed by the Tour of Algarve. “Qatar is another good option, each has advantages and disadvantages, but it’s also a very tough race, if it’s windy you can get dropped after two kilometres. In the Algarve the weather’s not always so good, but there’s less pressure.”
“I’ve very, very motivated, though for 2013. Last year was so frustrating, even when I got back into racing. So I’m making a big effort for next season."