Jonny Bellis has decided to delay his planned comeback for the season.
He had originally intended to make his return to fully-fit racing at the Classic Loire Atlantique next Saturday (March 19).
“I sat down, myself and the team manager, and we decided what would be best,” he told Cycling Weekly. “I could race now, but the level I’m at, I wouldn’t be racing [properly], I’d be in there to survive. Being on the limit the whole time is no fun.”
“I’ll go back to Italy, get some more scooter work and return to racing at the Hel van het Mergelland [April 2],” he added.
Saxo Bank-Sungard rider Bellis is itching to get into the peloton again: “It’s a bit annoying: when I was watching Tirreno earlier today, I thought ‘I want to get racing’. But in the long-term, this will benefit me more. I’ll be stronger, fitter and more comfortable.”
Nevertheless, it still points to a return to full fitness for Bellis following the Tuscan scooter crash in September 2009 that left him in a coma, his body emaciated.
Bellis: comeback 2.0
After a long fight back to health, this is comeback 2.0 in itself: Bellis raced the GP Plouay and several British races, including the Tour of Britain last year. However, he found the going tough after doing no scooter work beforehand, a decision he now regrets.
“I’m definitely better than I was last summer,” Bellis says. “This time last year, I was still in hospital. It’s been much better since a stomach operation at the end of last season too. It felt like I had a new set of lungs put in.
Beforehand, when I was at my maximum, breathing had been really hard. No more operations now, touch wood, I’d had enough of hospitals.”
Though the 22-year-old has gotten in a solid winter, attending several training camps, he is realistic about his aims this year when he gets racing.
“It’s slowly coming back together. I’ve no goals; I just want to see myself progress. I want to be able to finish comfortably, not be on the limit at the back.”
Has the whole experience changed him as a person? “I’d say so, it gives you a different outlook on life. I make sure, whatever I do, I do it to the maximum. To me, it was just a normal day, I was going home and then bang, I was nearly dead. You don’t know what’s around the corner.”
Bellis out of coma
Jonny Bellis: rider profile