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by Shane Stokes
May 3, 2017
In today’s Daily News Digest: UCI asks Giro organisers to drop controversial descending competition; Giro d’Italia names Mortirolo the Scarponi Climb as a tribute; Acquarone moving on with career, but says he’s still awaiting justice over Giro dismissal; Dumoulin pledges patience in Grand Tour ambitions, also wants to target Roubaix; Ambitious Jungels to return to Giro one year after making history; Three North Americans on Cannondale-Drapac Giro squad; Woods to make Grand Tour debut; Girdlestone’s comeback continues with Grafton to Inverell participation; Namibian national MTB champion Costa Seibeb dies in accident; Hammer Series finalises teams for Sportzone Limburg Pro Race; Strava announces new feature to shift app towards social network functionality; Video: Alaska or Bus’t – Mountain Bike Road Trip with Andrew Taylor; Video: Western Australia’s Joey Graham nails a backflip instead of racing.
Keagan Girdlestone’s recovery from a near-fatal crash last year is continuing to gain pace, with the South African rider committing to ride the Grafton to Inverell race on May 13. The 228 kilometre single-day event will mark his return to the Australian National Road Series, and is a significant step in his comeback.
“I really believe I’m ready for this,” he said. “I’ve had an awesome block of training with solid 30 hour weeks in the lead up. I’ve gained movement and dexterity in my right arm and I’m lean and super hungry to get back into the NRS for this race. It’s a really competitive level of racing and I just want to ride!”
Girdlestone collided with his team car during the Coppa della Pace race on Sunday, June 5, hitting the rear window while chasing back on a descent. He suffered huge blood loss due to lacerations to his carotid artery and his jugular vein, and was hospitalised in severe condition. He suffered a stroke, had uncertain prospects of survival and remained in a coma for several days.
However since then he has confounded expectations, and got back on his bike outdoors on November 5. The graft in his neck meant he was initially limited to keeping his heart rate under 145 bpm, but this was relaxed in March. He’s since started racing.
“I started out with some fondos and fun type events with a clear goal of just finishing. Then I went and raced some elite races here in NZ. I’m not fearful at all in the peloton.”