Christian Vande Velde Returns in 2009 Tour de Suisse
Christian Vande Velde, the Garmin-Slipstream team leader who sustained major injuries after crashing out of the 2009 Giro d’Italia in May, will compete in the 2009 Tour de Suisse later this week. The event marks Vande Velde’s return to racing. The American suffered seven fractures, including five vertebrae, one rib and his pelvis during a crash in stage three of the Giro.
Team officials credit the comeback to Vande Velde’s motivation and rigorous training, but caution that he is still recovering. 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 2009 Tour de Suisse, a 9-stage race, kicks off Saturday, June 13 in Liechtenstein.
“Christian is a fighter, and he is still recovering from very significant injuries. The Tour of Suisse 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 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.”