From his hospital bed in Zürich, Jakob Piil said that he has high ambitions for 2006. The tragic ending to this season has only increased his motivation, and the Danish rider is planning a comeback after a year which has been very much uphill for him.
The crash in Züri-Metzgete resulted in two fractures on his left hip, and Piil is having surgery later on this week in Zürich. "They opened and cleansed the two deep wounds yesterday, so they won't get infected," said the Dane. "Now the doctors want to leave it for a couple of days, before they start operating. The idea is to place a piece of metal around the bone to keep one of the fractures in place. I feel that I'm in good hands here and I'm very optimistic regarding a full recovery.
"They reckon it'll be about six weeks before I'm able to train again, but I could be lucky and recover quicker than that. I only have one thing on my mind now, and that's a comeback with a vengeance for next year. This whole thing hasn't destroyed me, I've been through so much this year and I've always been able to move on. I know I'll be able to ride fast next year and my ambition is to reach the level I was at for the World Championships - if not higher. There I saw, what I'm capable of when I'm at my best and the others will have to ride really fast to beat me."
Piil is still finding it difficult to come to terms with the circumstances surrounding the crash during yesterday's Championship of Zurich, and would like to see more responsible driving in the peloton.
"I've no problem accepting the occasional crash, which can happen to anyone, but it's totally unacceptable when it happens because of reckless driving by one of the service cars. The safety of the riders should always come first, and there are no excuses to jeopardize this. Imagine if it had been Bettini in that crash, because some sports director wasn't paying attention. And I even took precautions yesterday, because I was actually sitting there thinking that the driver in question wasn't paying much attention and was acting a bit reckless, when he all of a sudden drove through the group we were in. Suddenly he just hit the brakes, and with the streets being wet with rain I never stood a chance. The decisive break was already well under way and there was no doubt that it was in our group the winner was to be found. I had lots of energy left and knew I had the chance of winning. This of course only makes it even harder to bear.
"Even though things went wrong I actually feel quite lucky, because I landed right next to some very sharp stones, and it could easily have been a lot worse. Now I'll have to look forward - towards starting my training again and towards next season. I would like it to be a very different one to this year," finished the determined Piil.