Augustyn poised for pro racing return in Gabon

The South African has not raced since hip problems forced him off the bike in 2012

After a long, injury-forced break from the peloton that began in 2012, John-Lee Augustyn (MTN-Qhubeka) is slated to make his return to racing at La Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon on January 13.

“My training has been going really well, I’ve been feeling good on the bike as well,” Augustyn said in a team release. “I just have a bit of bad luck now with a cold that’s going around here so for the last few days I’ve been cutting the training load to try and get healthy again but I will definitely be ready for the race.”

Hip problems forced Augustyn off his bike in the spring of 2012, and he opened a bike shop with his brother during his hiatus from racing. Late last year, however, Augustyn sold the shop to focus on his comeback . MTN announced that it signed the South African in December.

“My goal is to get back into the racing side of things and be there to support the team as much as I can,” Augustyn said. “I will then take it from there on, maybe I feel good and surprise myself.

“My early season goals are to get back and feel comfortable in the peloton again. We will also know in these couple of days if we get into the Giro d’Italia. Right now there’s nothing with too much of a high expectation on my shoulders but I will definitely give my absolute best to make the team.”

Augustyn also plans to race the Tour de Langkawi and the Giro del Trentino in the early part of the season.