Romain Sicard (Euskaltel-Euskadi) returns to racing for the first time since March at the Classic de l’Indre on Sunday. The young Frenchman has been plagued by muscular problems in his right leg throughout the season.
“I’ve had a complicated problem with my right leg, and it’s been hard to pinpoint the reason,” Sicard told L’Équipe. “I had a few crashes in December which altered my cleat position and created a significant muscular imbalance. I lost force in my right leg: I had the impression that only the left leg was working. It’s a hard injury to diagnose and one which takes time to heal.”
Sicard spent two months undergoing physiotherapy near his team’s headquarters in Bilbao before finally getting back on the bike in late July. While he makes an eagerly-awaited return to racing on Sunday, his ambitions are understandably modest. The former under 23 world champion’s primary goal is simply to feel his way back into racing ahead of the 2012 season.
“I’m totally short of condition. I still have to do specific sessions with the physio and the osteopath,” Sicard admitted. “The objective is above all to regain the normal life of a rider.
“I’ve barely raced this season, so I’m really hungry. I’d love to be able to come back 100 per cent between now and the end of the season – not to get results, but to start 2012 with all of this behind me.”
During his lengthy lay-off, Sicard had to watch from the sidelines as his fellow French hopefuls Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ) impressed at the Tour de France.
“I’m really happy for them,” Sicard said. “Of course, it’s frustrating to be on your couch and watch others at the most beautiful races. But there are lessons to be learned from all experiences. I’ve gone through a lot of difficult moments with this injury. You ask yourself a lot of questions, but training and now racing again, that’s already a lot for me.”
At just 23 years of age and in only his second season as a professional, Sicard still has time on his side, and he believes that he will emerge from his injury problems with a stronger mindset.
“I think I’ve progressed mentally, even if physically it’s been the opposite,” he said. “It’s a difficult period, but it’s also allowed me to gain some perspective and have a bit more lucidity. It’s allowed me to understand how lucky I am.”