In April, Phonak's Victor Hugo Peña fractured one of his thoracic vertebrae during Paris-Roubaix. The 31 year-old Colombian is returning to competition at the Eneco Tour of Benelux. In the meantime, he had a four-month break from racing, put in some hard training time and celebrated the birth of his son Matteo.
Peña is over his injury now, in more ways than one. "It was very difficult to come back," he said. "But now I'm happy to be here again. I need a few races to get back into a similar shape that I was in this past spring. But I'm doing fine."
In the Eneco Tour, Peña is sitting in 107th overall after suffering through the hilly stages on the weekend. "Of course I'd like to keep up with the best riders," he said. "But after four months of not racing that isn't possible. Especially now with many riders coming from the Tour de France and being in very good shape. In addition, the Belgian and Dutch riders are specialists on these special roads, and then there's the special weather. Today [Stage 4, 46th at 3'54] was actually a good day for me. I was able to keep up with the first group. The fact that I fell back in the end due to a puncture is just bad luck."
Peña said that he would continue to test his physical condition in the coming days, and is looking towards the final part of the season. He is also bearing the responsibility of becoming a father 10 days ago. "My wife, our families and I are very happy about Matteo's birth," he said. "Unfortunately, so far I've only been able to be with him one night and one morning. Then I had to travel to Europe. My wife sent me photos today. I'm looking forward to flying home and spending some time with my son after the World Championships."