Kai Reus heads into the 2010 season fully recovered from his training crash two and a half years ago, and with the confidence gained from his first professional win at the end of last season.
The Rabobank rider crashed while training in July 2007. He was not wearing a helmet and suffered head injuries serious enough to place him in an induced coma for 12 days.
He rode with the Rabobank Continental Team in 2008 before returning to the ProTour team in 2009. The 24-year-old rode a full season, starting with the Tour Down Under.
By that time he was physically recovered, but still working on the psychological aspects of his crash. Things finally gelled in the spring. “Body and mind became one again. In late May last year it all came together,” he told the Dutch broadcaster NOS.
Reus crowned his comeback year with his first professional win, taking the second stage of the Tour of Britain, hanging on as the sole survivor of an escape group to beat the peloton across the finish line by 15 seconds. That gave him the leader's jersey, which he held on to for two days. In the end, he just missed the podium, finishing fourth overall.
This year he’s full of confidence. “I am sure. The team is sure,” he said. “I will mostly ride stage races this spring. I am incredibly looking forward to it.”
The young Dutchman realised just how lucky he had been after his teammate Pedro Horrillo announced his retirement, saying he was unable to continue at a top level after his horrific crash in the Giro d'Italia. “I recognised much of myself in Pedro's story,” Reus said.
“When I heard that he must stop, then I realise how much good luck I had.”