Trixi Worrack (Canyon-SRAM) is targeting a return from injury at next month's German national championships, as she builds up to the Rio Olympic Games. The reigning national champion has been out of action since crashing out on a descent during the Trofeo Alfredo Binda in March.
The incident left her with a ruptured kidney, broken rib, large haematoma and 'a life-threatening amount of blood loss.' Worrack spent several days in intensive care following the crash and had her left kidney removed in an emergency surgery.
"Everything needs to go well. In training, in recovery and with my test results. Then I think this is a realistic goal. I have to stay healthy and have no setbacks I know, but I'm positive. I'm saying mid-June but we'll see if I can make it happen," Worrack said in a press release.
"I already have some results from earlier in this season. But there's no real criterion and even if I'm 100% fit, then I'm not guaranteed [for the Olympic Games]. So first I have to focus on returning to racing and I want to be competitive when I do, not just to be there to roll around and finish at the back. I want to be able to have an impact on the races straight away. And then I can just see how things go. If I can race at German Nationals at the end of June, it will give me and the national coach a better idea of how my form is."
The crash was a major setback for Worrack, who had enjoyed a strong start to the year with overall victory at the Ladies Tour of Qatar and a podium placing at the Ronde van Drenthe. After suffering such severe injuries, the path back to full health has been a challenging one for Worrack. She has had to undergo continued testing on her remaining kidney to check how she is coping with the workload required to make her comeback. Just a few weeks away from her potential return, Worrack is not yet back to where she was prior to the crash.
"Even now I'm not yet at full training. The first week I did 30 minutes or maximum one hour either on the trainer or on the road. I couldn't stand up out of the saddle or pull on the bars without some discomfort in my scar and side," said Worrack. "I would fatigue quickly but that was mostly because my haemoglobin levels were still so low. It wasn't like returning to training after you've had a few days off because of the flu. It was different. I couldn't ride in my normal power zone, I was simply "riding" but I was satisfied with that. Now I'm training in my normal zones for up to three hours. I've not done any intensity or interval work yet, though."
Worrack, who at 34 has been a professional since 2008, brushed aside any thoughts about retiring. "Before this, I didn't have a year in mind that I was going to retire. Since my crash and surgery I've always wanted to come back," said Worrack.
"Mentally I feel good. I don't have any fear about crashing when I'm training. It's not an issue at all. I've had worse crashes, and although obviously not as worse injuries as this, but getting back on the bike post-crash feels the same to me now as it has done before. I'm not scared. I think in the future I might have to have an extra day of recovery, that's something I can foresee happening. But otherwise I hope that I can return to my previous levels."