Gerrans hopes to go from black and blue to rainbow
COMILLAS, Spain (VN) — Simon Gerrans hopes to see a rainbow at the end of a 2015 season filled with crashes and fractures.
The former Milano-Sanremo and Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner, riding the Vuelta a España, will captain the Australian team alongside Michael Matthews when the UCI Road World Championships come to Richmond, Virginia, this month. Last year, he placed second to Michal Kwiatkowski at the worlds in Ponferrada, Spain.
“It couldn’t be a much better way to salvage my season with a result or the world title,” the Orica-GreenEdge rider told VeloNews.
“I had such a fantastic run last year, and this year it’s been everything but. I’m using the Vuelta as a major part of my preparation and then we will see what I can do at the worlds.”
Gerrans broke a collarbone, elbow, and wrist in separate crashes this year.
He broke the collarbone mountain biking at the start of the year and had to miss the national championships and the Tour Down Under, which he won in 2014. He crashed and fractured an elbow in his comeback race, the Strade Bianche in March. In May, he won the team time trial with Orica and wore the pink jersey for one day in the Giro d’Italia. At the Tour de France, though, he fell and broke a wrist in the same crash in stage three that involved several others, including yellow jersey Fabian Cancellara.
“This season has been full of comebacks,” he said. “It’s definitely not easy coming back from injury consistently like I’ve been doing all year, but I guess it’s a real lesson in resilience.
“Every time I seem to be getting into some kind of shape, I have another setback, and that’s been the story of this season. It’d be nice to get a smooth run from here until the world championships, and finish the season off on a good note.”
Gerrans is riding steadily to build up the kilometers in his legs before Richmond two weeks after the Vuelta ends in Madrid on September 13. He has not won himself, but helped Esteban Chaves to two stage wins and Caleb Ewan to another.
He plans to complete the Vuelta, then travel to the United States to preview the course and polish his form.
“I worked really hard just to be here. I have a little way to go to be in my top condition just yet. It’s already something to be back here racing within six weeks of breaking my wrist,” Gerrans said.
“I come into the Vuelta with 30-odd race days so it’s pretty important that I get through these next three weeks, not only for the world championships and Il Lombardia [in October], but just for next season.
“Richmond is not as difficult on paper as Ponferrada. I haven’t seen it myself yet, but I’ve done as much research as I can into, looking at video footage and profiles and speaking to the guys who’ve been there themselves. From all reports, the circuit itself is not very selective, but the finish line is in a really difficult place.”