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More operations than wedstrijdkilometers

Professional cyclist Bart De Clercq will get next week for his third surgery this year an artificial hip.

More operations than wedstrijdkilometers

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Bart De Clercq rode this season not a single game for his new team Wanty Groupe Gobert. Jan De Meuleneir/photo news

Professional cyclist Bart De Clercq will get next week for his third surgery this year an artificial hip.

More operations than wedstrijdkilometers

Wim Vos

BrusselHeel many brand. Yesterday morning, Bart De Clercq still a nice 100 miles with the bike. ‘With an average of 30 per hour, ” he says quite coolly. However, there is since January 1 of this year, there is no greater pechvogel to find than The Clercq. 2018 was a year of more operations – two – than wedstrijdkilometers – zero. Next week a third surgery: an artificial hip. “Even my socks do do an awful lot of pain.’

‘An artificial hip, yes. Also I always thought that it was something for old people. But it can’t be otherwise. I have very long trying to avoid. But the pain is too great. Cycling does just. However, if the plane is and I’m not too much power. Then the pain bearable. But just steps, or even my clothes do, it is much more difficult. It then crosses the pain directly in the head.’

His words, balancing somewhere between sobriety and serenity. After ten months of suffering, Bart De Clercq was resigned: 2018 is a sporty disasters become. ‘One that I prefer from my career would be cut away and which I never want to remember.’ The misery started exactly on January 1 of this year. Bart De Clercq had just Lotto-Soudal exchanged for Wanty Groupe Gobert. A transition with ambition: he would be there much more often for its own account allowed to drive. But already on day 1 for his new employer ran the totally wrong wrong. In case of a fall in training and ran The Clercq a fracture in his hips. On the same day followed surgery 1. “There were four screws placed,” says De Clercq. “That had everything to stabilize. But it was a delicate fracture, they said there immediately. And it was a procedure with question marks. 100 percent guarantee that it would succeed they could not make me give.”

“Someday, I want to again level rates, but I put prefer not to timing. That has given me this year, too many disappointments delivered’

What turned out to be. A long time seemed to be the rehabilitation of The Clercq prosper to expire. “I even went on training camp to Mallorca, the rest of the season to prepare for. I took aim at the Dauphiné in early June. Afterwards, it would then, hopefully, follow the Tour. That prospect made the long rehabilitation bearable. I drew me on.’ Unfortunately. ‘As good as it first looked, as much last I got later. The pain returned. Turned out to be a cartilage defect in the hip. There should be something happen.” 2018 was already almost halfway through. There was surgery 2. ‘Cartilage does not grow back. So they have stem cells implanted in my hip. A new technique. With all the consequences. The result was, again, not guaranteed. But I still wanted to try. The alternative was an artificial hip. But I’m only 32. Then you want to as long as possible to avoid.’ Unfortunately, bis.

How heavy it is? Physical was often, says De Clercq. “The last months I’ve even pretty much a cycle. This morning yet. For my hip can it be evil no more. Soon, the entire things from there anyway.’ But mentally, he does have tough months behind us. “There were moments of despair. That flashes through your head: what meaning has it all? Would it not be better to stop? Especially if you and your colleagues will see races on tv. I had need to drive that thought. Apart from my personal misery, I was also with a bad feeling towards the team. Who had made an effort for me to pull and all of a sudden, they were with a rider who for a whole year no price has been able to drive. Annoying. Fortunately, it is at moments remained. Eventually, you turn that button to. You don’t want such a silly trap the end of your career. I can’t.’

Only, he has the guarantee that his level of yesteryear ever will be able to pick up? Next week following surgery number 3. Yet that artificial hip. De Clercq’s be honest: even he does not know it. ‘The doctors say all is well, ” what it sounds like. ‘I was a soccer player or long distance runner, it would be very different. But a rider with an artificial hip is still at the top level of performance. They say.’ Doubt he is there yourself? ‘On the one hand, I’m positive, ” he says. “There are lasts. Floyd Landis has also gekoerst with a hip replacement. Plus: the aftermath of an artificial hip is limited. A week after the surgery I would have been on the exercise bike. Mid-december can I then normal again on the road training. Count. If all goes well, I would at the end of February races should be able to drive.” But? “After all these months, I am especially careful become,” he concluded. ‘I want to once again level rates? Absolutely. But I put prefer not to timing. That has given me this year, too many disappointments completed.’

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