Christian Vande Velde, the Garmin-Slipstream rider who sustained major injuries after crashing out of the Giro d’Italia in May, will compete in the 2009 Tour of Switzerland later this week.
The event marks Vande Velde’s return to racing after he suffered seven fractures, including five vertebrae, one rib and his pelvis, during a crash in stage three of the Giro.
The American, who was in the top five in last year’s Tour de France, was back on his bike just days after his final medical examinations and has kept up the pace ever since.
“I said from the beginning that I was motivated to get back into my racing season,” said Vande Velde.
“To be honest, the recovery has been excruciating at times, but at the end of a long, hard day I have the satisfaction of knowing I’m doing all I can to get back to my team. I’m excited to see how Suisse goes for me.”
The Tour of Switzerland, a nine-stage race, kicks off on Saturday, June 13 in Liechtenstein.
“Christian is a fighter, and he is still recovering from very significant injuries. The Tour of Switzerland will be a good gauge for him to see what kind of condition he could be in should he ride the Tour de France,” said Garmin team boss Jonathan Vaughters.
“Less than a month ago he was in a hospital bed in Italy. To come back this quickly is truly a testament to his character.”