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Vande Velde to return in Tour de Suisse

By:
Daniel Simms
Published:
June 11, 2009, 20:53 BST,
Updated:
June 12, 2009, 21:56 BST

American hopeful for Tour de France start

Garmin-Slipstream's Christian Vande Velde will make his return to competition at the Tour de Suisse later this week. The American has been out of commission since the third stage of the Giro d'Italia, when he suffered fractures to five vertebrae, one rib and his pelvis during a crash on May 11.

One month after his injuries, Vande Velde has returned to training and will use the Swiss race to hone his form for the upcoming Tour de France, where he hopes to improve upon last year's top five finish.

"I said from the beginning that I was motivated to get back into my racing season," said Vande Velde. "To be honest, the recovery has been excruciating at times, but at the end of a long, hard day I have the satisfaction of knowing I'm doing all I can to get back to my team. I'm excited to see how Suisse goes for me."

The Tour de Suisse, a 9-stage race, kicks off Saturday, June 13 in Liechtenstein, Switzerland.

"Christian is a fighter, and he is still recovering from very significant injuries. The Tour of Suisse will be a good gauge for him to see what kind of condition he could be in should he ride the Tour de France," said Jonathan Vaughters. "Less than a month ago he was in a hospital bed in Italy. To come back this quickly is truly a testament to his character."

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