Jürgen Roelandts, who fractured a cervical vertebra in a crash of the Tour Down Under stage 1, has said he was eager to take up training again as he returned to his Belgian home with his Lotto-Belisol teammates. Wearing a neck collar, Roelandts told Sporza that he did not feel any pain as long as he held his head in the right position.
"I don't take a lot of pain killers - that way, I'll feel it when I do a wrong movement," he said. "It's a 'clean' break, so six weeks of neck brace will be enough to make it heal completely. Hopefully, I will be able to get back on my bike a bit sooner than that, perhaps on the rollers. The I'll be able to get back to competition fast."
But Roelandts also admitted that he was aware of the seriousness of his injury. "Afterwards, you realise you've come close... The break is near the spine - I'm happy that I can still walk!"
With regard to his return to competition, the 27-year-old hopes that he will overcome the shock of his accident and that it will have no impact on his ability to lead out a sprint train for team captain Andre Greipel. "Greipel asked me about this, as he had problems with it after a severe crash," Roelandts said. "We'll have to wait and see how it'll be the first time I'm back in a sprint. This will only come in over two months time, but right now I think it'll turn out well."