Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) still has his wrist in plaster and doctors have told not to touch his bike until mid-June but the Italian hopes to make a rapid comeback in the second half of the season so he can target the world road race championships on September 25.
Pozzato fractured his left wrist and collarbone after hitting a roadside barrier ten kilometres from the end of the final stage of the Tour of Belgium. He subsequently underwent surgery in Italy, with doctors inserting a plate and six screws to secure the three fractures in his collarbone.
“At the moment I can’t drive, I can’t dress myself and I can’t eat very easily. But hopefully the crash will mark the end of my bad luck this year. I think I’ve paid my dues,” he told Cyclingnews.
Pozzato had already been told he would not be selected for the Katusha squad for the Tour de France before the crash. He now hopes to return to racing in early August and then ride the Vuelta a Espana, which begins on August 20.
“The doctor told me to take a month off the bike so my fractures heal correctly but I’m trying to keep moving by doing some walking. I soon hope to do some weights in the gym and maybe ride a stationary bike as well. My goal is to ride the Vuelta and so find some form for the world championships. It’s going to be really tight for time but I think I can do it.”
Italian national team
Italian national coach Paolo Bettini has invited Pozzato to attend a national squad get together in Sicily in late June. He will be unable to train with his compatriots but knows it is important if he is to secure a leadership role for the world championships.
“Bettini has kept in touch since the crash and has pushed me to attend the camp. I’m happy to be there even I can’t train properly. It’s important to build a good team spirit before the world championships. Paolo is doing a good job and has been very supportive.”
Katusha and 2012
In contrast, Pozzato’s relationship with the Katusha team manager Andrei Tchmil is at an all-time low. The tough talking former rider criticised Pozzato after his poor spring classics campaign and then dropped him from the squad for the Giro d’Italia.
Most riders are wary of talking about their future mid-season but Pozzato seems to have already decided he will leave the Russian team for 2012. His name has been linked to the new Australian GreenEdge team. He refused to confirm that but revealed he has several options for 2012.
“My contract ends this year and so I’m thinking about my long-term future. I don’t think there anything wrong with talking about that,” Pozzato told Cyclingnews.
“It’s important for me to find a team where I can be really happy and where I’m really wanted. It’s not about the money. I’ve talked to four teams who are all interested in signing me but it’s early to say what colour my jersey will be next season. First I want to get back to my best and prove what I can do. This crash has derailed my season but not my career.”