Although Christian Vande Velde had a quiet Tour de Suisse, the Garmin Transitions rider is hopeful that a good Tour de France is in store.
The Chicagoan finished 70th overall in the Swiss race, but that result is misleading in that he was nursing the effects of a bad crash and therefore couldn’t go as deep as he wished.
“I was lucky enough not to be involved in the sprint crash, but I crashed three or four days ago and cracked some ribs,” he told Cyclingnews after his time trial yesterday. “They are not broken, but they are cracked. It really hasn’t been that nice breathing, nor sleeping. But whatever, it happens…there is nothing you can do about ribs, it is just a question of waiting.
“I never thought about going for GC here, but at the same time starting a little beat up and getting even more beat up throughout the race has just made a hard race even harder. I was definitely going to try to test myself on some stages but when I hurt myself the other day, it changed.”
Vande Velde has had a frustrating season, being affected by a hip injury and then a lung infection. He showed his form was on the up when he finished 13th overall in the Tour de Romandie and went to the Giro d’Italia planning to further build his form. However he crashed on stage three, breaking his collarbone, and so was forced out of the race.
Bizarrely, he also crashed out on stage three of the 2009 race. On that occasion he suffered more serious injuries, including broken vertebrae, yet amazingly recovered to finish eighth overall in the Tour de France. He had placed fourth one year earlier.
A good performance in the Tour de Suisse would have boosted his morale, but he’s remaining upbeat. “My condition is about the same as this time last year, if not a little bit better,” he said. “It is just a different kind of form..I think I am more fit, but I can’t got as hard right now. It is a strange feeling. Your body always reacts differently to different situations.”
He headed back to his European base in Girona yesterday and will continue his buildup for the Tour.