The 2014 season for Gustav Larsson (IAM Cycling) has been somewhat of an annus horribilis. The Swede broke several thoracic vertebrae (the middle segment of the vertebral column) in a training crash in June and has now missed out on selection for the UCI road world championships later this month.
The 33-year-old has also been informed that this year will be his last with IAM Cycling and is still searching for a team to ride for in 2015.
Larsson had several top-ten finishes earlier in the season but his crash ended any hopes of continuing that form. He had marked the time trial at the world championships as his return from his crash, which was almost three-months ago, but was informed that he has missed out.
"Sure, I had thought about the worlds for my comeback," Larsson told eurosport.se of when he planned to return to racing. "For it was something to motivate myself to keep on going. I spoke with the union after the accident about wanting a place for the worlds."
With just two places for the time trial, Sweden decided to select Tobias Ludvigsson and Alexander Gingsjö with national selectors believing the duo can finish inside the top twenty, whereas Larsson hasn't recovered enough from his injury to do so.
"We reasoned that we want the best at the world championships, and Gustav as we know, not been able to either compete or train fully since the crash," Heather Sheet told eurosport.se. "With scant time was left so we did not see any possibility that he could be in a fair shape. We have chosen to take out those who have been healthy at the selection date."
Larsson, a silver medallist from the 2008 Olympic games and world championships against the clock was hoping that the worlds would offer him a chance to remind people he is still a professional cyclist.
"I have a feeling that I need to show that I have not disappeared with broken back, but I would like to show that I actually am back on the bike ," he said.
"I have not had a bad season, I have the results from last spring, but the people forget so fast. It's not that I have oodles of results, but I have good results. I want to feel that it shows that you are back, so that they trust you and you can drive to the contract."
Compounding the non-selection and injury, Larsson also finds himself as one of the many riders in the peloton with an uncertain future and his career may now rest upon the reality of whether Fernando Alonso can secure enough riders for a WorldTour team from next season.
Larsson's stint at IAM Cycling, which he joined in 2013, has hit a crossroads with uncertainty over which races are suited to his characteristics and the team looking to add climbers to its roster.
"They seem to want to change their team," he said. "They have said that they have been happy with me, but they want to invest in high mountains, or whatever they said."
Still keen to continue racing, Larsson added that he has no plans on retiring and is hoping to secure a ride for next year.
"The reason I do battle is that I think it's fun to compete," he said. "So I'm trying to get something for next year. I'm hooked on that, I want to compete."
Holding him back however is an unclear racing schedule but that hasn't stopped the soon to be 34-year-old from training and riding his bike.
"I work out a lot at the moment because I want to come back," he added. "I'm still super motivated to get back, but I do not really know how I can do it this season. I have not received clarity from the team which races they have to me."
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