After taking nearly a year off Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv) will return to racing at the Drentse Acht van Westerveld held in the Netherlands on Sunday. The UCI 1.2 event will be the start of Vos' comeback toward her goal of competing in the Rio Olympics in August.
"I look forward to it," Vos said in a report on Sporza.be. "I'm not going to Drentse to win. At this stage, gaining race rhythm is important. I'm not yet at the level where I need and want to be, but I'm good enough to start.
"It will be some getting used to after a long absence. But my return is an important step in my building."
Vos was forced to take a break last year due to a hamstring injury that she sustained at the Dutch national cyclo-cross championships at the beginning of January 2015. She attempted a comeback during that cyclo-cross season but her hamstring was not fully recovered.
After a long recovery process, she briefly returned for two races in April and May. However, Rabo Liv announced in June that Vos would not return to road racing and that she had written off her 2015 goals. Vos made a statement on Twitter that read, "Not an easy decision to skip the upcoming races, but I need more training time to be race ready again."
Vos later described her health problems and tired feeling as a sign of over training. She decided to take a cautious approach to her health and training in order to make a full recovery, but also noted her plans to return to top form for the Olympic Games in Rio.
"Extensive medical research has established that there was overtraining," Vos said in her blog last October. "The only thing against it that helps is complete rest."
Vos joined her national team for a training camp in South Africa where she said she felt more like a cyclist again. She was also in attendance at the Rabo Liv Woman Cycling Team launch in January where she said she was feeling great.
"I'm in training and physically I feel great. Each week I find myself being able to handle more and more. I feel like a cyclist again and look forward to being part of the peloton," Vos said.
"Expectations are that come spring I can make my full comeback. Although an exact date hasn't been decided yet. Together with the trainers I'll choose the races. Either way, my program will be completely dedicated to the Olympic road race in Rio."
Rabo Liv will be on the start line at Ronde van Drenthe, the second event on the Women's WorldTour, which takes place on Saturday. Vos will not begin her season until Sunday at the Drentse Acht van Westerveld.