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O'Grady happy with Aussie return

Stuart O'Grady (Jayco Australian National Team)

Stuart O'Grady (Jayco Australian National Team) (Image credit: Shane Goss)

Australia's Stuart O'Grady is delighted with his current condition, having contested his first stage race since a horror crash in July's Tour de France. The Team CSC is reportedly "so happy" about his recovery, after suffering a broken shoulder, fracturing eight ribs, a collarbone, three vertebrae and also puncturing a lung, resulting in a blood clot on the brain in July's accident that ended his Tour and threatened his career.

"I'm so happy about how well my body seems to have recovered and how well this race went," O'Grady told the team-csc.com website. "It's been three months since my accident and it's meant a lot to me that Bjarne [Riis] kept telling me that I had to take my time and make sure I recovered fully without any pressure whatsoever. It's made a big difference."

The Australian admitted to being surprised at just how well he'd recovered and what he was capable of during last week's Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Melbourne. The seven stage race was O'Grady's first race in over three months. "Ahead of the Herald Sun Tour I hadn't been training too intensely so I'm both happy and surprised that I was actually able to compete out there," said O'Grady. "My job was to help Trent Lowe, who was third overall and I was actually doing quite well on the climbs and was 11th in the Time Trial. I found a good rhythm in my body and this race has given me lots of confidence and motivation to work towards next season."

Unfortunately for the Paris-Roubaix winner a mechanical failure prevented him from finishing Sunday's final stage with his Jayco Australian National composite squad team-mates. "I was in a break, when all of a sudden my chain snapped going round a corner, but I managed to stay on my bike," he explained. "I didn't have a spare bike with me so I would've had to abandon."

O'Grady's 2008 season will likely kick off on home soil, with the South Australian likely to again contest his home tour - Adelaide's Tour Down Under, which will make its ProTour debut next year.

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