Romain Sicard (Euskaltel-Euskadi) is hopeful the worst of his physical problems may finally be behind him. The young Frenchman did not participate in many races last season, as continuous wrong posture resulted in muscle imbalances and put strain on his whole body. The 23-year-old, who was arrested in November for drunk driving and attempted theft of a roadsign, is now on the road to full recovery and working hard to come back to competitive level at the Tour Down Under.
"I'm relatively satisfied with my preparation over the winter, but I have to admit that my problem isn't entirely resolved yet," Sicard explained to Velochrono. "It's something that takes time to heal so I continue my rehabilitation. But it's certainly positive to be able to train and ride normally again, and to be here in Australia for the Tour Down Under."
The 2009 U23 World champion explained that his difficulties had been hard to diagnose. "It's a long-term problem because over time, my pedaling posture turned bad," he said. "It's basically a muscular imbalance following some back and hip problems that I had. I've seen several specialists who delivered their diagnosis. With this imbalance, I find it hard to push hard with my right leg, so I'm on a muscle building programme off the bike. I also get massages."
Before thinking about victory again, the 2009 Tour de l'Avenir winner simply wants to return to being a rider. "At the moment, my only objective is to become a normal rider again, with normal sensations and simply be able to take up training and racing again. I want to be the rider I was before all these problems again."
But the signs of recovery look good for Sicard, who has been able to count on the complete support of his team, too. "It seems that things can only get better," he said, with a hint of caution. "To have been able to train well all winter and to be here at the Tour Down Under seems to indicate that things will get better every day. I must admit I draw a lot of motivation from that."
Sicard's further race programme has not yet been defined, though. "After the Tour Down Under, I will probably race the Mallorca Challenge," he said. "Then we'll have to see how it goes, and how I feel. If all goes well, I should participate in Paris-Nice, for example."