Bart De Clercq makes comeback after 513 days without racing
On Saturday Bart De Clercq will make his comeback in competition after almost a year and a half out of racing. The Belgian climber, 32 years of age, picked up a number for the last time for the occasion of Omloop van het Houtland on 20 September 2017. After 513 days without competition he will appear at the start of Tour of Oman (2.HC, 16-21/02) on Saturday. The rider from Herzele will come into action in the Wanty-Gobert colors for the first time.
On January 2 2018, his second day as Wanty-Gobert rider, De Clercq crashed on training. He underwent several hip operations hip throughout the year, but they did not bring any relief. In the past autumn an artificial hip was placed as a last solution. De Clercq is the first professional rider to compete in a race with an artificial hip. He hopes to find his best level later this year.
Bart De Clercq: "I have had a difficult year, the worries continued to pile up. Every time I made progress I suffered a relapse. Since the pain was permanent, it was not easy to live with. But I set myself goals again and again. I have always been motivated in the hope of returning as soon as possible. "
"I am relieved to be able to take my place back in the peloton. I think my condition is not bad. I feel that I make progress every week. But my last race dates from September 2017, so I expect some tough first races. I see this Tour of Oman mostly as a step-up race. I want to raise my level race after race."