American rider Saul Raisin, who had been hoping to come back to racing after suffering severe head injuries and falling into a coma last year, has announced that despite his miraculous recovery, his pro cycling career is over. "My dreams to be a professional cyclist are dead," he wrote on his website, saulraisin.com. His French team, Crédit Agricole, announced on Thursday that it would not allow him to return to competitionfor his own safety after reviewing the results of extensive health testing.
"Yesterday I was greeted by my Mom and Dad early in the morning in Salt Lake City," Raisin said. "I was so surprised to see them but the fake smile on my Mom's face revealed something was wrong. Roger Legeay had called them the day before to tell them that the French doctors would not release me to race. His voice cracked as he later told me the news and I tried hard to fight back the tears."
Raisin continued, "I did very well on my neuro-psych tests but the doctors said it would be too dangerous if I were to crash and hit my head again. It is hard to take in the fact that all the last 13 years of hard training are now over."
He added that he was thankful to his family and friends for the support that he had been given and was looking forward to his upcoming marriage.
Considered one of America's up-and-coming talents, Raisin suffered severe head injuriesresulting from a crash during the Circuit de la Sarthe in April 2006. He was in a coma for a week and was paralysed on the left side of his body after the accident. Despite doctors fearing for possible brain damage, Raisin recovered fully and is now able to lead a normal life, even racing the individual time trialas he did at the US Pro Championships in September this year.
Cyclingnews' Shane Stokesinterviewed Raisinin August 2006, outlining Raisin's progress on the road to recovery.