The Dane crashed at the Tour of Oman, leaving him with serious injuries. He came back at Paris-Nice, but eventually abandoned on stage four. Breschel was able to stay with the group of favourites until the second ascent of the Kemmelberg and rolled in only 27 seconds back on the leading group.
"I'm better now. I am happy to be back. It is my first race quitting Paris-Nice, so my hand today was a big problem for a long time, but now it's ok," he told Cyclingnews at the finish. "The legs were ok, I felt that I missed a few races so after Kemmel I thought that maybe I could try and do something, but then after 200km I cracked. I need the races, but hopefully I can get some motor pacing this week and be a little bit better."
Breschel will not race until the Tour of Flanders in a week's time, but will stay in Belgium as he continues to build his form. He is still suffering the effects of the crash at the end of February, but Breschel believes that he can make enough progress in the coming days to put in a solid performance at de Ronde.
"A lot of things can happen in a week. As long as you train well during the winter, it's sometimes easy to come back. Of course, realistically, I'm probably not up there for the victory. I hope I can do a result and something to be proud of."
As accidents go, Breschel probably suffered one of the odder ones to have ever occurred to a professional cyclist. The Danish rider was hit by a flying mattress after the final stage of the Tour of Oman. It might sound a little funny and Breschel even joked about having a soft landing, but the incident left him with serious abrasions to his face, arm and chest.
"I was behind a truck, on the descent, going 70km cruising, spinning my legs and then suddenly a mattress that normally protects the bikes flew up from the truck and landed on the ground. The truck that I was behind drove over it and flew up straight in my face. I went straight down on my face and my whole arm and chest, my nipple was almost gone.
"The ligament (in his hand) was damaged. They thought they saw a small fracture on the bone, but they weren't sure. And then I just gave it time, because the last thing I wanted was an operation. Then I took the decision to skip Waregem (Dwars door Vlaanderen) and I was back home in Denmark, getting a second opinion from a doctor there."
After the Tour of Flanders, Breschel will take on Paris-Roubaix, another big test for his hand, before the Four days of Dunkerque and the Tour de Suisse, where he won a stage back in 2009.
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