Mark Renshaw (HTC-Columbia) will be one of Australia’s last professional riders to leave his homeland, bound for the European cycling season, when he boards a plane tomorrow. A battle with Epstein Barr virus delayed the start to Renshaw’s season, which would usually commence at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic in early January, however spending a week at the Australian Institute of Sport has whetted Renshaw’s appetite for success.
“I’m more motivated than I’ve ever been to get out there and start winning races,” said Renshaw. “Motivation has never been an issue, but having the setbacks really gives it a boost.”
Renshaw joined Australian track rider Glenn O’Shea, who is recovering from glandular fever, at the AIS earlier this month. The pair worked with Doctor David Martin who taught them new training techniques to aid with recovery from their respective conditions.
“Dr. Dave Martin worked closely with Michael Rogers when he had Epstein Barr and knows a lot about recovery,” said Renshaw. “So I’ve been working with the AIS since we had discussions at Tour Down Under. I went down there [to Canberra] and learnt a lot about Epstein Barr from him.
“We tried a few different training routines like one legged and capped heart rate sessions,” said Renshaw. “He was really happy with how I’m recovering.”
With the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Road Championships being held in Melbourne, Australia at the end of this season, Renshaw sees an opportunity to make the most of his early season set-back. Renshaw hasn’t been the only rider to get his season underway later, with HTC-Columbia team-mate Mark Cavendish also having to delay the start to his year due to dental issues.
“We’ve seen a lot of the bigger riders starting their seasons late – like Thor Hushovd,” he said. “So if there was any year for it to happen, this is it.
“Tour of California is the first big objective, so that will be the first big test,” he added. “I should be ready to get back to racing toward the end of March and there’s plenty of races to choose from around then.”
While many riders lament having to lock up their homes for nine months and board a long haul flight for Europe, Renshaw’s excitement over his pending departure is indicative of his hunger to return to racing. “I just can’t wait to get on the plane and get over there,” he said.