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Monique van der Vorst
Former wheelchair athlete to start road cycling career against the odds
One of the most amazing stories in the world of cycling has taken another remarkable turn this week as the Rabobank Women's Cycling team has announced the signing of Monique van der Vorst, a former handcycling athlete who was competing in a wheelchair until 2010. Van der Vorst had been disabled since she was 13 years old, and after a very successful career in handcycling, which saw her take the world championship title three times, she recovered the use of her legs and will now start a career in the pro peloton.
The Dutchwoman was on track in her preparation towards the 2012 Paralympic Games when she was hit by a bicycle while training in her wheelchair in the spring of last year. This third roadside accident of her career saw the now 27-year-old enter a lenghty rehab period, during which she gradually recovered the use of her legs. On November 20, 2010, she started walking again.
"Monique still has a lot to learn, but I'm sure that the rest of the girls will also learn a lot from Monique," said Rabobank Women Team director Jeroen Blijlevens. "She has the right mentality and willpower, she has proved that during her sports career. She would like to race on the road and we will support her to do it."
Van der Vorst herself was also happy to have signed with the Rabobank squad. "I am very honoured to be able to develop into a road rider with Rabobank. This team provides the best surroundings with a lot of experience and expertise. On top of that, I will be able to learn a lot from Marianne Vos," she said.