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“Kittel’s four stage wins encouraged me to keep working and to get out of the wheelchair. But I never said to myself: ‘I should be at the Tour.’ It wasn’t my place. I had another battle to fight,” Sprick...

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21.11.2013 @ 13:50 Posted by Patrick Lorien

On a steady road towards full recovery

 

Matthieu Sprick hopes to make a comeback, as he continues his path to recovery from the stroke he suffered in his home on May 22.

 

“In six months, I hope to be on a bike. The idea is to become a rider again,” Sprick told L’Équipe. “The doctors aren’t saying yes or no. Nobody has said no. I know what I want, but I don’t know what the reality will be.”

 

Sprick is perhaps not known for his individual success, and innate abilities, and has only collected one significant victory; namely the during the first stage of the Tour de Langkawi in 2008. Nonetheless, he is a strong rouleur, and has participated in numerous of Argos-Shimano’s victories, and before them Bouygues Telecom's. Recently he has been a fundamental component in Argos-Shimano’s disciplined sprint-train.

 

Living in his native Alsace, he was back in the saddle for the first time in early November, and gave his best at the nearby Mont Sainte-Odile:

 

“It goes on for about seven or eight kilometres. I wanted to do it without putting my foot on the ground – and I succeeded,” said Sprick. “It was both good and not good that I did that climb, because I suffered so much that day, but I needed to do it.”

 

The stroke had affected the right hand side of Sprick’s body, and the experienced Frenchman gauges that he still lacks 30-40% in his right arm. Even though he spend most of the recent Tour in bed, he was encouraged by the success of his team.

 

“I told myself that I wouldn’t watch the Tour, and yet, after my five hours of therapy each day, I switched on the television,” Sprick said. “Kittel’s four stage wins encouraged me to keep working and to get out of the wheelchair. But I never said to myself: ‘I should be at the Tour.’ It wasn’t my place. I had another battle to fight.”

 

He only began walking again one week after the Tour, and has focused on his recovery since. “In hospital, I saw a lot of people who weren’t as well as me. I’m lucky,” Sprick added.

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