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“I don’t believe in miracles. I haven’t raced in six months so it’s normal that I can’t go with the best up hills," van den Broeck tells Velonews

Photo: Sirotti

JURGEN VAN DEN BROECK

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28.01.2014 @ 16:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jurgen van den Broeck has just completed his first race after sitting out the second half of the 2013 season due to a severe knee injury sustained in a crash in the Tour de France. Despite ending back in 24th, the Belgian is happy with the outcome and will continue his steady build-up to the Tour de France.

 

It was a long awaited day for Jurgen van den Broeck when he could finally pin on a number at the Tour de San Luis last week. After crashing out of the Tour de France in the finish if the 5th stage in Marseille, the unfortunate Belgian grand tour star missed the second part of the season due to a severe knee injury that forced him to spend 4 weeks on the couch.

 

While the likes of Nairo Quintana and Chris Froome were battling it out for the podium in the Tour, van den Broeck was back in Belgium and could only wonder what might have been. After a lengthy recovery period, he could finally get back on his back towards the end of 2013 and was pleasantly surprise to record numbers that were even better that he had done at the same time during his preparation of the 2010 season that saw him net a 4th place in the Tour de France.

 

The Tour de San Luis was his first race back but he was unable to deliver the strong showing that he usually does in the first part of the season. He finished back in 24th but again proved his improvements in the time trial which uses to be his weakness when he was 13th in the flat race against the clock.

 

The apparent lack of results didn't come as a surprise for van den Broeck who had finished 5th in the race 12 months earlier.

 

“I don’t believe in miracles,” he told Velonews. “I haven’t raced in six months so it’s normal that I can’t go with the best up hills.”

 

Van den Broeck has been very dedicated in the winter season after originally putting on 9kg in his lay-off. He has already lost that extra weight and admits that he has been more serious than usual and has even stopped drinking beers.

 

“Normally it’s not a problem if you drink alcohol in the winter, it’s normal,” he said. “I was just afraid that if I had one or two I could’ve felt light-headed, stepped wrongly and hit my knee. I was afraid to injure my knee again.”

 

Instead, van den Broeck spent a lot of time doing specific exercises that should strengthen his body. He claims that his back and everything else is now much stronger than it has been in the past.

 

Van den Broeck's main goal will again be the Tour de France where he has twice made it into the top 5. After skipping the Ardennes classics in 2013, he will again return to the hilly races in the spring and will also have his usual focus on week-long WorldTour stage races.

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