Young Australian Francaise des Jeux rider Mark Renshaw will be on the start line when the Giro d'Italia starts in Reggio Calabria on May 7. It will be the first grand tour for the 22 year-old from Bathurst in the New South Wales country town of Bathurst, but it looked for a while last year as though his cycling career might be over before it started.
In December Renshaw underwent an operation to his back to correct a long-time problem that was gradually worsening, causing the muscles in one leg to wither and beginning to affect his ability to move his toes.
"Few would know about the stress that Mark faced in the big events last year," said Bathurst Cycling Club President Mark Windsor. "He was in pain, and was having trouble getting power to the pedal. He is a different person now both physically and mentally."
Just weeks after the operation, Renshaw was back on the bike, finishing in the top ten at the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under.
"I couldn't believe it" said Mark's father Mick. "We where still debating weather Mark should be riding at all, and he finished 9th in Australia's biggest cycling event."
Since then, Renshaw has returned to France with his team and on April 14 finished second behind Jimmy Casper in the Grand Prix de Denain. The recovery, it seems, is complete. Windsor for one, says it was to be expected. "As a junior Mark's advantage over other cyclists seemed to be the way he responded and adapted to training stress, so in hindsight it's probably not surprising that Mark's recovery was so good," said Windsor. "It has been great following his improvement this year."