CHELMSFORD cycling star Ian Stannard says missing the Tour de France come through Essex is “really hard to take.”
The Team Sky rider broke his back while cycling the Belgian one-day classic Gent-Wevelgem but had hoped to be fit for the Tour’s Grand Depart in Yorkshire on Saturday, July 5.
However, 26-year-old Stannard was told by doctors last week his fractured vertebra would not have recovered in time for the cycling season’s premier race, meaning he would miss the race pass through his home town on Monday, July 7.
“When the results from the scans came through, [team doctor] Phil Riley booked me an appointment with a pure spine specialist in London and he was the one who detailed the extent of my injuries,” said Stannard.
“He said I had been really lucky not to suffer any permanent damage because my vertebra had been quite badly damaged.”
Stannard crashed into the bottom of a ditch after touching wheels with another rider in the one-day race. He said he felt his recovery was coming along well and he feels fine in his mind.
“It was really hard to take, especially when it became clear that I wouldn’t be riding the Tour de France, said Stannard. “At the same time, it was nice to get a definitive call – a clear-cut decision. There was no uncertainty about what I should and shouldn’t be doing.
“As far as I understand, if I had surgery on it, it would have ended my cycling career because the spine and joints would have stiffened up to such a degree that I wouldn’t be able to get into the right position for cycling.”
Stannard will have another X-ray at the 12-week mark but is confident he will be riding again before the end of the season.
“I’m eager to get back in the saddle but it’s in the hands of the experts.”