Simon Gerrans has recovered from a broken collarbone sustained in a mountain bike crash in December and has joined his Orica-GreenEdge squad for a pre-season training camp in Alicante, Spain. The sprinter has used the camp to fine-tune his time trial position, and rebuild his strength and form ahead of his targeted Spring Classics.
“Team camp has been a really positive experience,” Gerrans wrote in his latest blog entry on his website. “This is one of the few times that I have ever been at a camp this early in the season. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to do long rides and some harder training alongside tweaking the time trial position, working on the bike set-up and adjusting a new pair of Shimano race shoes.”
The Australian had to undergo surgery to repair a broken left collarbone after he crashed while mountain biking near his hometown of Mansfield. He was forced to miss defending both his national title at the Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Ballarat on January 8 and the Santos Tour Down Under, which started on January 18 in Tanunda and concludes on Sunday in Adelaide.
Following surgery, he retuned to his home in Monaco at the beginning of January to recover from the accident and have the staples removed. He started riding outside a week before the start of the Orica-GreenEdge pre-season training camp in Spain.
“The shoulder is coming along really well,” Gerrans wrote. “Rest and recovery combined with rehab has allowed me to strengthen the shoulder and return to a good range of my motion. My hip had been the other cause for concern. Four weeks post-crash, and all the bruising has finally disappeared. I’m happy with the progression and have very few restrictions remaining at this point.”
Orica-GreenEdge’s technical director, Lars Teutenberg, joined the team at the Alicante camp, bringing the riders their new time trial bikes and other equipment in order to test their positions on the local track. “I did some testing with my new time trial bike,” Gerrans wrote. “It’s the first time I’ve ever done this sort of testing, and it was quite cool.
“We would test on the track followed by modifications by Lars based on an analysis of key power data. We would test again and again Lars would analyse and modify. We repeated this again and again in attempt to fine tune and get the most out of our legs in the most aero position possible.
“Although I don’t do a lot of time trials during the season, when I do them, they’re really important. It’s great to spend some time at camp dialling in the time trial bike for the important time trials I’ll race in the middle of the year.”
In addition to fine-tuning their equipment, the purpose of the camp was to give the riders ample time to train together, and Gerrans’ main focus was to rebuild his strength to what it was before his accident, which forced him to shift his early-season targets from the Tour Down Under in January to the Spring Classics.
“I’m essentially doing the sort of training now that I would normally do in late November,” said the 2014 Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner. “It won’t be too long before I begin to ramp up the intensity for everything I’m targeting in March and April.”
Gerrans has been following along with the Tour Down Under’s online coverage. Orica-GreenEdge has had some success with Daryl Impey taking second in stage 2 and stage 4. He is also leading the points classification and is positioned in seventh overall as the race heads into the stage 6 finale in Adelaide on Sunday, a stage the team is hoping to win.
While I’m certainly focused on my own training and everything else that’s happening at camp, I have to admit that the first thing I do every morning is jump online and see what’s happened overnight in Australia,” he wrote. “I haven’t been able to watch the race live, but I’m following closely and keeping on how everything is going for my teammates."
Gerrans understandably missed competing at his National Championships, a title he won in 2012 an 2014, and the kick off to the WorldTour at the Tour Down Under, which he won in 2006, 2012 and 2014.
“It’s been a bit of a weird experience for me,” Gerrans wrote. “The Australian summer of racing has always been such an important part of my season, and although I’ve accepted this new change in plans, I also feel a small sense of missing out. I’ve noticed my attitude about it all is naturally a bit inconsistent. Sometimes I’m quite happy with my current plan and the work that I’m doing at camp, but when I jump online and read about the Tour Down Under, I find myself wishing I was there.”