Stuart O'Grady has admitted to feeling a little uneasy when confronted with his first descent on Monday since his horrific accident while descending on the Tour de France's Stage 8 in July. The 34 year-old suffered a broken shoulder, fractured eight ribs, a collarbone, three vertebrae and also punctured a lung, resulting in a blood clot on the brain in July's accident that ended his Tour and threatened his career.
"I was pretty s**t scared out there today," O'Grady told guests of his first descent since the accident at a Mitchelton Winery function on Monday evening.
The Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Melbourne, Australia, where O'Grady is competing with the composite Jacyo-Australian National Team, is the South Australian's first race since July's crash. O'Grady added that despite his emotions on Monday's stage, the crash hasn't affected his ability to be competitive saying "it's just a matter of getting out there and doing it".
"Going down the descent...what if you go off the road or hit a pole?" he said. "You can't let that stuff enter your mind, otherwise you might as well hang up your boots. If it was anything to do with my brain, I wouldn't be sitting here. Bones will heal, so it's just a matter of getting out there and doing it."
O'Grady is working for fellow ProTour rider and compatriot Trent Lowe at this week's race. Heading into today's Stage 3 Lowe sits in 10th position on general classification, 56 seconds behind Australian race leader Matthew Wilson (Unibet.com).