Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.
Sidelined since he was hit by a car at the Tour de Suisse last June, Team Sky’s Sergio Henao finally returns to racing on Thursday’s opening stage of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali in Italy.
The Colombian rider suffered what were potentially career-ending injuries during his warm-up for the time trial at the Tour de Suisse.
He has been unable to compete since but reached an important milestone on Thursday when he began the four day stage race.
“I’m ecstatic to be back racing and to be able to return to this level,” he said. “I want to thank the team for its incredible support as well as my family, my girlfriend and all my friends who have been there for me.
“I feel ready to come back. I want to make the most out of this opportunity and I want to repay the team for its trust and dedication in helping me. I am excited to get started and I want to return to winning races in the future.”
Dave Brailsford, Team Sky Principal, said that the whole team was happy to see him back in action. “The amazing resilience he has shown in coming back from such a significant injury has inspired everyone.
“This race is the next step for Sergio in his recovery plan. He’s under no pressure to perform and the key for him is to get back into the rhythm of racing in the peloton.”
Meanwhile his team-mate Bradley Wiggins has unexpectedly been omitted from the squad for Friday’s E3 Harelbeke race, one of his planned buildup events for his big season target of Paris-Roubaix.
It is possible that he will ride Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, but missing E3 is an unexpected development.
A Team Sky spokesman said the modification was not significant. “It was just a change in his race programme. The plan is for him to ride Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday,” he told CyclingTips.
Wiggins pulled out of Paris-Nice, choosing not to ride the final time trial.
He was third in the individual time trial at the Tour of Qatar and placed twelfth in the prologue in Paris-Nice, but hasn’t yet registered any road race results thus far to suggest he is on track to win Roubaix.
Paris-Roubaix will take place in just over two week’s time, being run on April 11.