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Burghardt: Rehab before racing

Marcus Burghardt (Team High Road)

Marcus Burghardt (Team High Road) (Image credit: Team High Road)

By Sarah Staber

Team High Road's Marcus Burghardt made a name for himself early in the 2007 season when he rode to victory at Gent-Wevelgem. But fans of the 25-year-old might be wondering why he's not defending his title in Belgium this week; he unfortunately watched the race on television after having surgery on his knee. Just a week ago, there was no talk of a hospital visit.

Burghardt was earnestly training at the end of March, in the company of this girlfriend Maria, on the same island where he had an accident in early December in Mallorca. The Team High Road rider has been desperately trying to rehabilitate his knee which was injured in that crash, but the pain has kept him from joining his colleagues in many of this years early races.

The injury came about when Burghardt had come to Mallorca for some winter training. He was practicing sprints when the chain slipped over the ring and his right knee hit the handlebar with full force. After physical therapy and some training, the 25-year-old began his season by completing the Tour Down Under but had to give up on the first stage in the Tour of Algarve due to excruciating knee pain. The pain continued at the team's February camp in California, and on Tuesday, Burghardt announced he would go under the knife to help correct the injury on the day of Gent-Wevelgem.

Writing on his personal website, www.marcus-burghardt.com, he explained that the attempts at rehabilitation to this point had failed. "I am confident that after successful rehabilitation and with a lot of hard training, there will be a new start for this year," he said, continuing to assert that his goals for the season have not changed. "I have not given up on my goals, including a 2008 Pro Tour victory," he said, adding that only the timeline has shifted. "I have a good coach and a strong team on my side. Therefore, I go into my surgery with optimism," he wrote.

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