Rochelle Gilmore is ready to race the Jayco Bay Classic on New Year's Day, a goal which last summer might have seemed impossible for the Australian. But the 29-year-old has fought her way back from serious injuries in a crash at the women's Giro d'Italia, which saw her learning to walk again.
Gilmore was among those going for the final sprint in the fifth stage, when she was involved in a mass crash, hitting the pavement hard with her right hip. “I got right up and rode across the finish line and sat down after the race,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald. A few minutes later, “I stood up to walk to the car, which was two or three steps away, and I couldn't.”
She was told that x-rays were negative and that she may have broken some ribs. But about a week later, things were getting worse and she returned to the hospital. There it was finally determined that she had multiple fractures of the pelvis, a small fracture in her spine, and indeed, three broken ribs.
Gilmore was told it would be six months before she could walk again, but only 20 days after the diagnosis, she was up on crutches. Miraculously, she was able to race again as early as September, and even rode in the World Championships.
Her first goal for 2012 the Jayco Bay Classic starting January 1, with the BikeExchange.com.au Dream Team. “We've won it the last three years and to be honest, if we don't win this year, we'll be really disappointed.”
Her main goal of the year, though, is the London Olympics. Surprisingly, it would be her first time. “As far as the Olympics go, this is my chance, I haven't had a chance like this where I'm in my strongest years, and the course really suits me … I'll treat this as my big chance and I'll give it everything.”
Gilmore is not just a cyclist but also a successful businesswoman. She owns the BikeExchange.com.au Dream Team, for which she rides in Australia, and is the leading force behind her European team, Team Honda.