Surgery instead of racing for 2007 Gent-Wevelgem winner

The 2008 season has not gone at all the way High Road's Marcus Burghardt had planned. Instead of...

The 2008 season has not gone at all the way High Road's Marcus Burghardt had planned. Instead of defending his victory in Gent-Wevelgem, the 24 year-old will be watching today's race on television after surgery on his injured knee.

Burghardt has a long history of knee problems, but the current problem stems from a training accident in December. He rode the Tour Down Under, but knee pain accompanied him during the team's California training camp and subsequent attempts at competition. He now faces arthroscopic surgery, "and I am confident that I will be able to make a new start on the year after successful rehabilitation and lots of training."

Writing on his website, marcus-burghardt.blog.ch, he said, "I can't say anything definite about my plans in cycling this year. I haven't given up my goal of another ProTour win this year, but it will just have to be sometime later. I have a strong will, and a good trainer and a strong team at my side. So I am optimistic going into my operation and then further into the daily training, first carefully and then very intensely."

The German rider doesn't know whether he will be able to ride the Tour de France this year, but said that he is "interested to see how the theme of doping is handled at the Tour de France this year. The signs are very interesting. They may be late, but the consequences which were drawn from last year let us hope that the Tour will be quieter and more controlled than in 2007."

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