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Italian team jerseys will carry dedication to injured rider
Marina Romoli (Safi-Pasta Zara Manhattan) is continuing her arduous recovery from the injuries that she sustained in a training accident on June 1. The Italian rider remains at the Villa Beretta rehabilitation clinic in Lombardy, where she has been undergoing intensive therapy since late June.
“I’m still at Villa Beretta,” Romoli told Gazzetta dello Sport. “However, I have a special dispensation to get out at weekends and go to the house that my parents have rented nearby in Costa Masnaga. I can go there during the week as well, but only so long as I’m back before the 9 o’clock curfew.”
Romoli was struck by a car while training near Lecco in June, injuring her back and sustaining deep lacerations to her face. She was placed in an induced coma for over a week and remains unable to walk.
“My rehabilitation is continuing every day in the gym,” Romoli explained. “My upper body is improving and now I’m becoming more mobile there, but my legs still aren’t showing much sign of life.”
As well as working on her recovery in the gym, sessions in the swimming pool have been added to Romoli’s rehabilitation. “I go there once a week,” she said. “From the first moment, it was a most beautiful feeling. At least in water, I get to feel quite normal. I can swim without using floats. I have a bit of an advantage here because I used to swim competitively when I was younger, although my legs just float behind me.”
Romoli has also begun using a wheelchair to move around but is still working to regain the use of her legs. “I’m learning how to use my wheelchair and I want to learn as much as possible so that I don’t need to ask anyone for help,” she said. “But my goal is still the same: to walk again.”
As a silver medallist at the 2006 junior world championship road race, Romoli will be keeping a keen eye on the progress of the Italian team at this week’s Worlds in Australia. Just as their male counterparts will race with a dedication to the late Franco Ballerini on their jerseys, the women’s team kit will carry a message for Romoli.
“I was dreaming of going to the Worlds and returning to Australia, having raced there in my second year as an elite rider,” Romoli said. “I remember it as being like heaven on earth. I’ll be watching the live stream on my computer.”