Alexandre Kolobnev returned to the professional peloton this February at the Vuelta a Murcia with the Continental Pro Gazprom-Rusvélo team. The 34-year-old rider told Cyclingnews about his absence during the most of last season because of a crash at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.
"I fractured one of my ribs and one of my feet. I don’t know exactly how I got through that last stage – a time trial – at all. I came second last. There was really bad bruising, too, in front of one of my tibia, and it didn’t stop swelling up for another six weeks. We thought it could be really serious, but finally it didn’t prove so bad", he explained. "It was not the first crash and injury of last year, either, and as a combination of them all, I had to stop. On top of that my third child, a girl, was due to be born soon afterwards, so it was time to stop racing for a while."
After his crash, he was convinced that his career was over. "I really was, I was tired mentally as well as physically. These things [like retirement] it’s never one factor that decides you one way or another; it’s several, and they were all pushing me towards the door. But after a time, I noticed that I was missing cycling. I began training again because I felt better that way. Your body is used to that. So I did some swimming, some riding – I have a lot of friends in triathlon – and around September the idea of Gazprom-RusVelo came up again. And it was clear they needed someone with more experience. So we started talking."
"There were a lot of factors that all came together which led to me signing for them. So I’m pleased to be back. I never was recommended by a doctor that I should stop permanently, although even if they had, sometimes riders have been told by medics they shouldn’t race and eventually they overcome those injuries and manage to do so."
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