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Pressing the flesh and back on his bike

Stuart O’Grady at Eurobike

Stuart O’Grady at Eurobike (Image credit: Gerard Knapp)

O'Grady plans for 2008 with Beijing on his mind

By Gerard Knapp at Eurobike, Friedrichshafen, Germany

In his first full day on his feet since the accident in the Tour de France that took him out of the race – and almost out of the sport – Australian Stuart O'Grady was feeling the pinch of being a star attraction at the Eurobike trade show in Germany on Saturday.

As O'Grady said with a tired smile, "well, it's another day in the office." He visited just about every sponsor of Team CSC and shook hands, smiled and featured in countless photos of people who'd taken a valuable happy-snap of the day they met the winner of the 2007 Paris-Roubaix. Bike industry executives, European journalists from l'Equipe, Velo and Bici Sport, even executives from major sponsors of the Tour de France; they all wanted to talk to the one who never quits, who needs a life-threatening accident requiring weeks of rehabilitation to make him quit a bike race.

Despite all the attention, O'Grady appeared not to be bothered. The sense of relief was palpable, even at the end of his tiring day. Talking at the FSA booth – he'd previously visited Cervelo, Speedplay, Descente, SIS (nutrition firm Sport-in-Science), Sigma and Zipp - O'Grady realized that things could have been worse, much worse, had a solid timber railing not literally stopped him in his tracks at over 60 km/h on the descent .

He was not only alive but only last week he'd had his first ride back on the bike: a relatively short 45-kilometre run from his Monaco residence to Italy "for a coffee", then back home, "and mate, it felt like I'd just won the Olympics again."

He admitted to actually being quite nervous about getting back on the road. "I was kind of wanting to do it, but delaying it; cleaning the bike, pumping the tyres, that kind of thing, wondering what would happen …" But when he rolled out on to the roads of Monaco and took in a few bumps along the way, and his shoulder, arm and ribs all absorbed the regular jolts of any road ride, he felt he was good to go again.

You can read the full interview here.

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