By Susan Westemeyer
It takes more than a few broken bones to keep a good man down. Specifically, the five broken ribs, a fractured shoulder and collarbone and three cracked ribs – not to forget the punctured lung – that CSC's Stuart O'Grady suffered in his crash at the Tour de France this summer are now healed and the feisty Australian is ready to return at full speed.
He made his comeback at the Herald Sun Tour in Australia in October, but took it easy there. Now the 34 year-old is ready for the real thing. "It has all mended up pretty well. I have no pain at all so it's really promising. I have been racing a little bit, and that has been okay," he said on the team's web site, team-csc.com.
O'Grady will start his season with the Australian National Championships in January. "I can't say now, that I'll have the form to win, but obviously I'd like to be in the top end of the results. We'll just have to see how it goes."
After that, he will be concentrating on the Spring Classics. "I'll be going for Milano-Sanremo, Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix as the main objectives. I'd like to say that I can repeat the victory in Roubaix, but you know it's such a special race. This year we had 27 degrees and a heat wave – next year it could be seven degrees and mud. That's the beauty of Paris-Roubaix, that's what makes it so special."
The highlight of the past year was without doubt his win in the Hell of the North. "You can't really explain it. The emotions were felt all around the velodrome – it was just something, you never, ever, ever forget. It was just incredible."