It's hard enough to come back from breaking vertebrae in your back once in a season, but Trek Factory Racing's Fabian Cancellara has recovered from the injury twice in the space of five months.
The Swiss has been named in Trek's squad for the Vuelta a España, with one eye on preparing for the UCI World Championships road race in Richmond, Virginia, in September.
Cancellara first sustained the back injury in a crash just 20km into the start of his first cobbled race of the year - E3 Harelbeke. That kept him out of the Classics season but he returned in time to start the Tour de France and wore the yellow jersey on stage three.
A high-speed crash on that stage left him with exactly the same injury, but six weeks later he is ready to embark on the three week Vuelta.
“Fabian comes to the start with different expectations and goals than other years because of the injury, It’s absurd to think that he’s doing this for the second time this season. But everyone knows his talent and his capacity to recover." said Trek manager Luca Guercilena.
“I have no doubt that he will build great shape in the Vuelta. The first week won’t be easy for him, but he can suffer a lot and he’s determined to finish the season on a high!"
Another rider returning to full fitness for the Vuelta is Frank Schleck, who will lead the team in Spain. Schleck missed the Tour de France with a knee injury.
Guercilena said: "He has had a couple of setbacks this season and missed out on the Tour (de France), but he’s ready for this Vuelta and more importantly, he’s very fresh. He raced Utah and only narrowly missed out on the podium because of bonification seconds."
Trek Factory Racing squad for Vuelta a España
Frank Schleck, Fabian Cancellara, Markel Irizar, Yaroslav Popovych, Jasper Stuyven, Boy van Poppel, Danny van Poppel, Riccardo Zoidl, Haimar Zubeldia
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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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