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Marc Hirschi to miss early season due to hip operation

Volta Ciclista a Catalunya 2021 - 100th Edition - 3rd stage Canal Olimpic de Catalunya - Vallter 2000 203.1 km - 24/03/2021 - Marc Hirschi (SUI - UAE Team Emirates) - photo Luis Angel Gomez/BettiniPhoto©2021
Marc Hirschi (UAE Team Emirates) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Marc Hirschi will miss the early part of the 2022 season due to surgery on his hip, and will not race until at least March.

The Swiss rider's hip issue is a long-standing one stretching back three years. His start to the 2021 season – his first with UAE Team Emirates following a move from Team DSM – was delayed until the Volta a Catalunya in late March.

“I don’t know yet my race program because three weeks ago, I [had] an operation on my hip,” Hirschi told reporters from the team's training camp.

“For the last three years, I’ve had problems with my right hip, where there was not enough space in my right hip. So what [the doctors] did was go inside and shave the bone so I have more space.”

He added that the risk of crashing was too great to justify racing in the early part of the season, and although he “will not race Paris-Roubaix” and that the other cobbled classics such as Tour of Flanders depended on his recovery, he hoped to still participate in the Ardennes classics. Hirschi won La Flèche Wallonne in 2020, going on to finish second in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and then taking 6th there in 2021.

Last year, Hirschi’s season was rocky and injury-prone compared to a breakthrough 2020 campaign. Two years ago, he burst onto the scene with a podium in the World Championships and a stage win at the Tour de France with Team Sunweb. 

Since his move to UAE he has slipped into more of a support role, proving instrumental in helping Tadej Pogačar win races like Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour de France.

Even as the squad builds up its roster of supporting riders and GC men with signings such as João Almeida, George Bennett and Juan Ayuso, Hirschi sees his role as ultimately the same.

“The team gets every year stronger,” he said. “We grow a lot. I met [the new riders] in the last camp and I think, um, we have a really nice group for next year. We grow every year. And for me the role, I think it's not much changing.”

Right now, though, the 23-year old Swiss’ goals for the upcoming season are simple: “I want to focus on rehab. Then I will see about other goals.” 

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Kate Wagner is a Chicago-based writer and critic. Her work on cycling can be found in various publications including Procycling. Her newsletter covers cycling in an unconventional fashion, featuring essays, short stories, multimedia works and illustration.