Giacomo Nizzolo has yet to mark a date to start his season after being diagnosed with tendinitis at the Trek-Segafredo camp in Mallorca in January. Despite weeks of physical therapy and a return to limited training, the Italian is still recuperating from his injury.
"I am back on the bike," Nizzolo said, according to his team. "I can ride but not much yet, around 2- 2.5 hours a day. I still feel some 'noise', but I cannot really call it pain. I feel that the best way to be back is to ride, building muscle again and improving their flexibility because the muscles around the knee were getting stiff from wanting to protect my knee.
"Right now, I am also working very intensively with a physiotherapist who looks at my body as a whole and is working primarily to get my total body back to functioning normally again. It's like my body still acts as if it must protect the knee, so we have to reset my body's memory. My muscles still think there's a problem; they work like they have to defend themselves from the pain. So my first goal right now is to teach the muscles to function again as they did before."
Today, Nizzolo was scheduled for a three-hour ride, the longest since his diagnosis, before he will find out if he can increase his training load.
"I really feel the improvement, so I am confident that I am on a good way, even though I know it is still a long way back," he said. "Because first I have to become a normal rider again. With two hours of riding a day, I still cannot say that I am really training."
Because of the reduced training schedule, Nizzolo did not want to set a date on his return to competition. "I want to focus on getting back to my old level and becoming even a better rider."
Haas, Boasson Hagen lead Dimension Data in Strade Bianche
Dimension Data will head into the next WorldTour race, Strade Bianche, with Nathan Haas and Edvald Boasson Hagen as co-leaders in the team.
Haas has been one of the most consistent performers of the season, and was expecting to take a five-week break after the Tour of Oman to prepare for the Ardennes Classics.
"For me, Strade Bianche is easily the most spectacular race on the calendar. The finish in Siena is absolutely magical, and the challenge of riding on the gravel roads is just too good. We have a pretty awesome team here with a few big cards to play, and I think we are going to put on a super exciting race," Haas said in a press release.
"We have a few guys who are already fit for the cobbles classics so they will be fit for this race too. Edvald [Boasson Hagen] seems to be in good shape now, and Nathan has done well in this race before. We start out very ambitious," directeur sportif Alex Sans Vega said.
Dimension Data for Strade Bianche: Nathan Haas, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Daniel Teklehaimanot, Mark Renshaw, Jay Thomson, Johann Van Zyl, Bernhard Eisel and Scott Thwaites.
New dates and venues confirmed for Tour Series 2017
The Tour Series has announced the 10 rounds for the 2017 edition in an event at Wembley Park. The ninth season of the series will take place over three weeks in May, featuring Saturday night events for the first time.
New hosts will include Wembley Park in London, Northwich and Aberdeen. The roman city of Bath will be the scene of one of the night races on May 20, as will Durham a week later. Redditch is where it will all kick off on May 9, and the grand finale will be in Stevenage on May 29.
There will also be eight women’s competitions with the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series expanding to 13 teams.
The Tour Series is based on a team format with the overall victory going to the best team rather than an individual rider.
Round 1 - Tuesday, May 9 - Redditch*
Round 2 - Thursday, May 11 - Stoke-on-Trent*
Round 3 - Friday, May 12 - Northwich*
Round 4 - Tuesday, May 16 - Wembley*
Round 5 - Thursday, May 18 - Croydon*
Round 6 - Saturday, May 20 - Bath*
Round 7 - Tuesday, May 23 - Motherwell*
Round 8 - Thursday, May 25 - Aberdeen
Round 9 - Saturday, May 27 - Durham
Round 10 - Monday, May 29 - Stevenage*
Those marked with an asterisk are where the women’s races will take place.
Stage 4 of Tropicale Amissa Bongo cancelled due to logistical issues
A technical problem with an aircraft has forced the organisers of the Gabon race Tropicale Amissa Bongo to cancel the fourth stage. The plane was due to take riders out to the Haut-Ogooué Province, but because of unspecified technical problems it was unable to.
“Despite all the measures taken to ensure the flights as soon as possible to allow the riders to be at the start this afternoon, the organizers decided to cancel the stage in consultation with the president of the jury and the teams' sport directors,” a statement read. “The organisers wanted to focus on the comfort and safety of the riders and are counting on the last three stages to offer the big final battle for the overall classification where positions are still very tight.”
Stanislau Bazhkou of the Minsk Cycling Club is the race leader after winning stage 3 to Koulamoutou. Tony Hurel (Direct Energie) and Mikel Aristi (Delko Marseille Provence KTM) have also won stages of this year’s race. Stage 5 will take the riders from Lambaréné, where stage 4 was due to finish, to Kango.