Sébastien Rosseler has admitted that he is facing an uphill struggle to force his way into Garmin-Barracuda’s line-up for the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix after his injury-stricken beginning to the season.
The Belgian suffered a broken collarbone shortly after his arrival at the team in January and only made his debut at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday. Rosseler abandoned the race after he was dropped on the Kruisberg. He also abandoned Wednesday’s GP Le Samyn.
“I had the impression I was feeling ok during the reconnaissance of Het Nieuwsblad, but that wasn’t the case at Kuurne,” Rosseler told La Dernière Heure. “I was quickly dropped on the Kruisberg. In cycling, there are no miracles after such a long absence from the peloton. After I was dropped, I didn’t have the desire or the strength to get back on.”
On his arrival from RadioShack, Rosseler had not raced since June’s Tour of Luxembourg due to a recurring knee injury and he admitted that his morale had been dealt a blow by his most recent setback.
“I had really worked hard to get back to a good level, so having to stop again because of this clavicle fracture was hard to swallow. After that, I had to work hard again, especially so as not to gain too much weight. So it’s hard for me to be positive at the moment.”
Given his current state of fitness, Rosseler is only on the fringes of Garmin-Barracuda’s classics line-up. “It was a mistake to abandon at Kuurne because that’s not the way to get back into form quickly,” he said. “Things will go better in a little bit, I hope, even if they can’t get much worse than they are now.
“I’m only a reserve for the Tour of Flanders and the Hell of the North. Not being the Ronde, I could say ‘too bad’, but it would really make me grumble if I wasn’t at Roubaix.”
Given the rough and tumble nature of the cobbled classics, however, Rosseler knows that he must quickly overcome the natural inhibitions that affect a rider returning from injury. “In effect, I have less desire to take risks,” he admitted. “For me, that’s a problem for the Flemish races because in those races, it’s above all a question of positioning.”