Sebastian Reichenbach has made a quicker than expected recovery from his injuries suffered in a crash at the Tre Valle Varisine, and will mark his return at the Drôme-Ardèche Classic on February 25. The FDJ also rider revealed that he has given testimony to the UCI regarding the crash, which his team says was purposely caused by Team Sky's Gianni Moscon.
"The UCI received my testimony not long ago, those of riders witnessing the accident two or three weeks ago. There is also an action in the civil court. Obviously, Moscon did not call me," Reichenbach said in an interview posted to the FDJ team website.
Reichenbach says he has "turned the page" on the incident, and is awaiting the UCI's decision. But he still has vivid memories of the crash, which came two hours into the race.
"In a descent, I didn't see anything coming. There was no danger, I was not tense, I was even relaxed because there was no pressure in the pack, it rolled along nicely. I was alone. It was not dangerous and then I felt a shock to my left shoulder."
Reichenbach suffered an open fracture to his elbow which required surgery and a fractured pelvis. As he lay on the tarmac, he told his team doctor that a rider had pushed him. The team later identified Moscon as the offender.
Moscon denied causing Reichenbach to crash, speculating that the Swiss rider lost his grip on the bars. Reichenbach, however, speculated that the incident was payback for an earlier incident in which he inadvertently outed Moscon for racially abusing teammate Kévin Reza - leading to a six-week suspension of Moscon by Team Sky.
The UCI has been quiet about the inquiry, but president David Lappartient said in an interview earlier this month that he was following it closely. "I am watching the Moscon affair very carefully. If, after racially abusing one rider, he later pushed one of his teammates off his bike, then he has nothing to do with cycling if he behaves like this," Lappartient said.
- Moscon racially abuses Reza at Tour de Romandie
- Team Sky suspend Moscon over racist insults
- FDJ blame Moscon for Reichenbach's season-ending crash
- Moscon denies causing Reichenbach crash
- Reichenbach files complaints against Moscon with police and UCI
- Lappartient watching Moscon affair 'very closely'
Two months after the crash, Reichenbach attended the FDJ team camp in Calpe and was able to resume training without pain.
"It went very well. Because of my injuries, I recovered more gently than usual of course, but in Calpe, I was able to recover well from the training load, without having pain."
Reichenbach said he was surprised to be able to complete the three- to four-hour training rides without a problem, and attributed his quick comeback to starting early in the rehabilitation process on his home trainer, just doing short, easy sessions two weeks after the crash until the doctor gave the green light to go out on the open roads.
"The Calpe camp really reassured me. I plan to resume competition at the end of February in Drôme-Ardèche.My recovery is postponed by one month compared to what I usually do. The program of the beginning of the season is focused on the Giro normally but it is not yet 100 per cent sure. I also know that I will not race Tirreno-Adriatico but will do the Volta a Catalunya and Trentino after a training camp in the mountains."
Reichenbach says his main goal for 2018 is to get revenge for his unsatisfying 2017, which was hampered by a broken foot in March and illness before the Tour de France.
"I want revenge. I want to have as few glitches as possible. My job is to be a lieutenant for Thibaut Pinot but also to be consistent in the mountains. This year, I was really good in the third week of the Giro. If I had this level in 2018, I would be delighted," Reichenbach said.