Two months on from his horrific crash in the opening stage of the Tour Down Under, Lotto-Belisol's Jurgen Roelandts is still several weeks away from a return to racing and is yet to receive the all clear from his doctors. The 26-year-old Belgian suffered a fractured vertebrae in his neck and a clogged blood vessel in his brain following a spill with multiple riders in Adelaide.
After intially targetting a return to competition at Tirreno-Adriatico earlier this month, Roelandts was forced to rethink his plans when it became clear that his convalescence would take far longer than orginally expected. He is training up to two hours a day under supervision and is desperate to get back in the saddle.
"My focus is now later in the year," he told Sporza. "In seven weeks I will have a new scan. Then I hope for green light from the doctors."
The 2008 Belgian road race champion admits that he is frustrated by not being able to race in the spring classics, which he has performed will in during recent seasons. He finished sixth at Gent-Wevelgem in 2010 and last season was runner-up at E3 Harelbeke and finished in the top ten at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
"It is sad that my role as a leader for my team cannot be fulfilled, but mentally I am ok," he said. "I do not need antidepressants and can count on the support of my parents, sister and friends.
"I'm in training two hours a day, constantly supervised. I am still not great, but see light at the end of my ordeal. I also have daily contact with team manager Herman Frison. He pushes me to remain calm."