For many riders, getting back on the bike after a big crash is one of the toughest parts of recovery, but Lotto-Soudal's Kris Boeckmans insists he's not afraid of riding again after his accident at the Vuelta a España.
Six months on from the crash, which left him in a coma for several days, Boeckmans is still not quite ready to return to racing, but is stepping up his training to ensure he's not out for too much longer.
And Boeckmans insists there is no fear when he's on the bike now, likening his recovery to winning a Classic.
"There are some mental tests, but I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid when I'm on the bike. I think I will succeed with flying colors. Then we will see when I can mingle again in the peloton," he told Sporza.
"When I look back on this comeback, I think 'how did I do this?' because you would think in advance 'I will not come through this', but I did it. I am sometimes surprised by myself, this feels like I've won a big classic.
"The key of my return is perhaps a problem that my uncle had his shoulder. The physiotherapist told him: 'Do not be angry with that shoulder, otherwise it will never heal'. Now I never get angry on my body."
Boeckmans was enjoying his best season as a pro when he crashed on stage eight of the Vuelta, having won the World Ports Classic, Tour of Picardie and GP Samyn in 2015.
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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
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