By Antonio J. Salmerón
While Spanish rider José Joaquín Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne), who crashed earlier this month, evaluates his condition as "very favourable," he is still cautious enough to not set a firm date for his return to the peloton. "I was told that it is only a dislocation in the area that was initially diagnosed as a fracture. I should just train according to my sensations when I hop on a bicycle."
Rojas already left the trainer behind and is hitting the asphalt again. "I was fed up with being stuck at home, on the trainer. So yesterday I allowed myself to go out of the house and do 50 kilometres round trip. The sensations were very good," the young Spanish rider told Cyclingnews.
But he didn't go too fast, "that could cost me dearly later. I am starting to get going later, so I can be at the start of Paris-Nice." He wanted to ride the Volta a la Comunidad Valenciana, starting February 26, initially. The Vuelta a Murcia (March 4-8) may be a less competitive alternative, which Rojas "would like to race." It is a race where he won a stage and led the overall until the third stage last year. "I also don't think that I would be ready before that, especially if we are talking about an optimal level [of fitness], as I had it when I crashed in the Challenge of Mallorca," the Spaniard added.
At only 22 years of age, the Caisse d'Epargne rider is promising in demanding stages and in the sprints, making use of his power. That led to a stage victory in the recent race on the Balearic Island. As for his actual return to the peloton he mentioned that "the coming days will show if I can return to competition a bit earlier. I want to avoid starting too early, as I don't want to throw away all the work that I have done so far," concluded the student of Directeur Sportif Eusebio Unzúe, who still has a contract until 2010.