After a three-week break, Roger Hammond is back in race action on Tuesday in the Four Days of Dunkirk.
Hammond spent the last 60 kilometres of his last race, Paris-Roubaix, trying to ride his bike as best he could with an injured hand. A crash caused by French rider Rony Matias had left the Briton with a suspected fractured scaphoid.
For the first 10 days after the race his hand was in plaster, although it later emerged that there wasn?t a fracture, as team doctors had first thought. However, three weeks on, his hand is still painful.
?The good news is form-wise I?m doing ok, I just need to polish up the edges a bit.? Hammond told Cycling Weekly on Monday evening from his team hotel.
?I was injured in Roubaix, but I got through the Classics without being sick. So that means my base form is still intact.?
?I stopped riding for six days completely, then gradually got back into it.?
Asked if it was difficult to come back and re-focus after a tough Classics campaign, Hammond admitted that ?at first it?s a relief and you ease up a bit.?
?But my season doesn?t stop after Roubaix. There?s lots of other races I can do well in.?
At Dunkirk last year, Hammond was instrumental in setting up Mark Cavendish for two stage wins. Hammond himself placed third on stage three.
With Cavendish at the Tour of Italy this May, this time in the flattish six-day race the team will be working for sprinter Greg Henderson, who recently won two stages in the Tour of Georgia.
?It?s the usual Four Days of Dunkirk route, with the hilly stage on the Saturday. There?s no time trial though, which is a change. I prefer coming back here to starting racing again in something like the Tour of Catalonia.”
?After Dunkirk, I?ve got some one-day races in Philadelphia, then the Ster Elektrotoer stage race and the Nationals.? Later on, the Tour of Denmark and the Tour of Britain are also on Hammond?s program.
?My race condition should start to get really good in the American races.? Hammond says. ?But I?m already in pretty good shape here in Dunkirk.?