Riesebeek trades wheelchair for spin on rollers in comeback from fractured pelvis

Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix) finished second on stage 15 of the 2021 Giro d'Italia
Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix) finished second on stage 15 of the 2021 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

After three full weeks recovering from a pelvic fracture, Oscar Riesebeek was able to swap a wheelchair for crutches today. His Alpecin-Fenix team posted an update to social media, stating the Dutch rider has returned to riding on rollers, and was expected to return to an outdoor training programme in two weeks.

Riesebeek suffered the injury on October 1 during a Paris-Roubaix reconnaissance ride with the team when riding across a stretch of cobbles that morning. Heavy rains across Belgium that week wreaked havoc with mud covering many sectors of pavé, creating slick conditions.

Riesebeek was taken to local hospital where his team reported that "scans revealed he'd sustained a non-displaced pelvic fracture, sadly putting an end to his season."

Now 26 days after the crash, Riesebeek began his recovery programme, saying in a team statement, "I'm very happy to be out of my wheelchair. I feel fine. This is a step in the right direction, but I realize there is still a long way to go.

"I have to walk on both crutches for another two weeks, but I'm very happy to be out of my wheelchair and to be able to slowly start exercising on my bike trainer again," Riesebeek said on the team's Facebook page.

After a 30-month pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, a rare fall edition of Paris-Roubaix was held on October 3, won by Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious). Alpecin-Fenix’s Mathieu van der Poel would follow Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Soudal) in the final sprint in the Roubaix velodrome for the final podium spots, with Riesebeek’s teammate taking third place.

Riesebeek rode a full schedule of one-day Classics in the spring, taking a top 10 in Brabantse Pijl. He followed that with the Giro d’Italia, where on stage 15 he took second place in a rain-soaked breakaway sprint won by Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka Assos). The Dutchman had clawed his way back to Campenaerts on a cobbled section of road in Gorizia, but was outmatched in the final metres by the UCI World Hour Record holder, referring to his miss at a Grand Tour victory as “a once in a lifetime opportunity”. 

The 28-year-old missed his chance to compete in his first Paris-Roubaix with the training injury. For continued recovery from the injury, he has incorporated core stability exercises and alternative training sessions in the swimming pool with his easy spins on the rollers, the team reported. He will target mid-November for outdoor training rides.

“Those first rides will be relatively short, but it’ll be nice to feel that I can exercise again. I'm really looking forward to that. For now, I still have to take it day-by-day when it comes to my training schedules, but I'm very hopeful that I’ll be back in optimal shape at the start of the new season."

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