Victor Campenaerts (31) will travel from the Sierra Nevada to Lyon on Friday. He still sleeps at a height, but has already thinned to a more or less dauphiné. His first achievement since the Bredene Koksijde Classic where things went completely wrong for the former world hour record holder. A bad fall with conclusive consequences: a broken vertebra. A cross through its spring before it even started. Nothing but “lying motionless in bed” for weeks, as he himself describes it. Campenarts is also nearly motionless from behind his laptop for much of this conversation, but at that height after all, luckily it has a different reason.
“After a few days in that bed, I felt incredibly disgusted with myself”, Campenaerts returned at the beginning of his recovery period. “I was just sitting in bed swiping through social media that evening I realized I haven’t done anything worthwhile for a day. I deleted all social media and turned to things like sports physiology literature.
coffee and a cookie
Luckily, someone regularly knocked on the door of the Kempenaerts house. He took inspiration from it. “Sometimes it was the sweetest spot around here and the five riders would stop separately during their training for a coffee and a cookie. especially florian (Vermeersch ed.), He has met me the most so far. That’s why he doesn’t live so far away. I was also taken aback because when I fell he too stayed with me instead of continuing his course. It was inspiring to see the drive of the boys in the team. Not only did he run aggressively, but he also scored a lot of points. It encourages me to come back to the level because I don’t have to be the worst in the team or be good to get selected.
Finally, Campenaerts was able to start cycling again about a month and a half ago. However, it did not go smoothly immediately. “The first time was the hardest. Half an hour on rollers at a low intensity. The next day I noticed how heavy the impact was on my body and I realized that I was not yet able to follow a regular training schedule. rider comes closer to a bike, you refer to your top moments on that thing. As a professional cyclist you usually feel better than a Sunday cyclist. To feel in such a moment that you Physically less than a 60-year-old father, it is quite difficult.
Eventually, Campenaerts was able to slowly ease back into a training schedule. He has now been able to take his place in the peloton again in Dauphiné from Sunday. “I was able to cycle at home for two weeks before I left for the Sierra,” says Campenaerts. “Though I must say my back was still playing tricks on me. It was only because of not training for so long that my condition had deteriorated so much that the few hours I was given for cycling was enough to get me back in shape. You see improvement every day and that brings satisfaction. Every day feels like a victory.
Still heading to the Vuelta?
Campeonarts will return to normal on Sunday in Chambon-sur-Lac, where the opening shot of the first stage of the week-long French stage race will be fired. However, he is quick to quell any expectations. “To be clear, I’m starting out with no ambition. However, no, that’s not true. Completing the course, that’s my ambition, but other than that I’ll mainly be helping other people, like Maxim Van Giles, who also went on long altitude training.
Focusing mainly on autumn, the Campenaerts score a few more goals later in the season. “If the Dauphiné goes well for me, there will be two weeks of altitude training, after which I will ride the Belgian Championships, but also the Franco Belge in Romania and the Sibiu Tour. for, where I hope to be able to ride at a competitive level again. That seems realistic to me. Then there’s Leuven, Druvencors Overijse and Zoegem (Egmont Cycling Race ed.), The Benelux Tour or the Vuelta could be added later.”
The tour preoccupied Campenaerts’ head for a while, but that idea quickly fell apart. “Before the start of the season, it was never an option. If my rehabilitation was faster than I expected, it could be a realistic goal. But then I should be able to go to altitude training in Livigno in time Was. Running the Dauphiné with four weeks of intense training is already optimistic. Taking it again after the Tour was not a good idea for me nor for the team. If I can win a ride or a one-day race somewhere this year If I manage, given the circumstances, my season will already be successful.