Winning a stage at the Tour of Britain to take the overall lead would be an accomplishment for any young rider, but it is especially meaningful to Kai Reus, 24. He said that he was "in a daze" after his first win since a training crash in July 2007 left him an induced coma for 11 days with a brain haemorrhage.
Reus was at a team Rabobank training camp in France when on July 12, he went off alone, without a helmet. He has no idea how the accident happened, but it left him with three broken ribs, a broken collarbone and the brain haemorrhage. By September of that year he had started riding again. In 2008 he trained the whole year with his previous team, the Rabobank Continental team, and rode two races the end of the season.
Reus returned to the ProTour team this season and has been riding since the Tour Down Under in January.
"What a day, what a day," Reus said on his website yesterday. "I live in a daze, my phone is not quiet, the e-mails are streaming in, too many to mention."
Once considered one of the best young Dutch prospects, Reus had been showing his good form again lately. In Sunday's Tour of Britain stage, he was part of a three-man break which went clear after 40 kilometres, and he was the only one to stay away until the end.
"What a moment, what a fantastic moment," he continued.
"It's obviously a great story, as every cycling enthusiast knows," said Rabobank Directeur Sportif Erik Dekker. "This is truly a special moment for him and of course everyone around him."
Dekker also confirmed that Reus is now living up to his earlier potential. "I was finally seeing him at the highest level with my own eyes. Sitting in the car, I just could not believe my eyes."
The team will do its best to help the young Dutch rider defend the leader's jersey, even if they admit the odds are against them. "In the worst case, at least Kai has won the second stage and worn the Tour of Britain leader's jersey for one day," Dekker noted. "Anything more is just a bonus."
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