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by Mark Zalewski
March 24, 2017
In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Bouhanni survives climb to win Catalunya stage; Pichon wins Coppi e Bartali opener; CCC Sprandi Polkowice takes TTT; Kristof Allegaert leads the Indian Pacific Wheel Race through the halfway point; Victorian cyclists miss out on minimum passing distance law; ASO strikes deal for race in China; Weening abandons Catalunya; Sporza secures rights for Flanders Classics through 2024; British Lord blames cycle lane for aiding Westminster attack; Lotto-Soudal boss hopes Dwars door Vlaanderen was a lesson; Girdlestone continues to defy odds, entering Le Race this weekend with top bib; World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry meets at Taipei Show; Van Garderen called out on social media for ‘rule infraction’; 2017 UCI Women’s WorldTour – Focus on ORICA-Scott; South America Bites : A New World Record.
Keagan Girdlestone, the young rider who nearly died after a crash while racing in Europe last June, is continuing to defy the odds in his recovery by entering the Le Race — a 100 kilometre event from Christchurch to Akaroa that he won in 2014. In recognition of his remarkable recovery, organisers are giving him the number one bib for the race.
Keagan Girdlestone on his first road ride back. On his left arm is a tattoo showing a cross, a helmet and cycling glasses. It also lists the date of his crash and the location, Rimini. It’s an apt symbol for his return to life.
“It is an honour to be given number one and I will feel very privileged lining up on the start line, and I look forward to finishing with it pinned on my back,” Girdlestone said. “I’m very honoured that Hayden (Roulston) has given up his number one for me to use on Saturday.”
Roulston won last year’s event after leaving the WorldTour to prepare to race the track at the Rio Olympics. He is riding this year’s event ‘for fun’ to support a number of cyclists he has been coaching.
“For Keagan to wear that number, it’s pretty special,” Roulston said. “If it hadn’t been for the accident he would have won the race again, and who knows how many times, as he’s such a talent. For him to have number one it signifies just how far he’s come in such a short time. He’s very lucky to be alive and riding a bike.”
“I’d really like to finish the race under three hours,” Girdlestone said. “I think it’s a reasonable expectation but it will be pushing my limits, which of course is what I like. The body is much better, slowly adapting to the load of training I’m doing and the right arm is also improving a lot,” he said. “Compared to a few months ago the difference is quite vast.”