By Jean-François Quénet in Avignon
William Walker is back in the saddle with a respectable ride for 47th spot at the prologue of the Dauphiné, in what is only the early part of the season for him. "I've disappeared for a while," he said with a smile. The Australian from Rabobank has been out for two months after suffering from Bell's Palsy, a virus that prevented any movement in one half of his face. "I couldn't ride at all," he recalled.
Two months ago when he resumed training near Melbourne, he was hit by a camper van and ended up in hospital. "I still feel some pain on long climbs but I'm okay now and the condition is pretty good," he said after completing the Tour of Catalunya and the Tour of Belgium. "I hope to come out of the Dauphiné with a very good condition. I have the Tour of Austria and the Vuelta in mind."
He looks more muscular after his break, too. "It's the first time I've given my body a period of recovery," he said. "It might be good for my future, we're only half way into the season."