Cannondale Pro Cycling Team’s Ruben Zepuntke will make his return to racing this season at the Tour of Belgium. Zepuntke has been sidelined since a crash in the final stage of the Tour of Provence in late February after movement in the peloton forced the German into a tree. He broke his elbow in the crash and required surgery and extensive time off the bike due to pain.
“It’s been three and a half months,” Zepuntke said. “That was a bad crash. I’m really excited to be back on the bike. I’m happy to be back with the team and race again. It’s really, really nice.”
He joins Jack Bauer, Matti Breschel, Sebastian Langeveld, Ryan Mullen, Kristoffer Skjerping, Tom-Jelte Slagter, and Dylan Van Baarle at the five-day race.
It has been a long road back this for Zepuntke; the first month following surgery, he couldn’t be on the bike at all due to the pain in his elbow. After two months, he was cleared to train on the road again.
“I’ve been training for one and half months really well. I don’t feel the elbow anymore,” he said. “It was a really bad break. My elbow was dislocated 5cm. It was a heavy injury. The doctors said I was really lucky that I didn’t cut any nerves. Now I have to see how it works in a race.”
The crash and recovery marked the fickle nature of a sport that demands constant training that can evaporate in a single moment.
“One second, everything is over. All the time you spent on the bike is gone. It was really frustrating. I did quite a lot of work in the offseason,” he said.
Now, it’s about incremental progress. Zepuntke has circled the prologue in the Tour of Belgium as a starting point.
“The prologue is good for me to show myself again. Otherwise, I have to see in the race. Getting strong through the race, that’s my motivation,” Zepuntke said.
Cannondale Pro Cycling Team for the Tour of Belgium
Dylan Van Baarle