For any first-year pro, every race is a new adventure, but in the case of Jarrad Drizners, his first days of competing in the Tour of Poland in August probably felt a lot more exceptional.
Six months ago, the Lotto Soudal rider was just weeks into his rookie season when he was caught up in a horrific accident on the penultimate day of the UAE Tour which left him left with a badly lacerated liver and in danger of losing his life.
His return to racing was not straightforward, with additional surgery required a few weeks after the accident when the recovery process suffered a brief but severe setback. In total, he spent the better part of two months off the bike recuperating.
But Drizners would not be deviated from his goal of returning to professional racing and although much of his rookie pro season was spent in less than ideal circumstances, he is now back in the game at the Tour de Poland.
“It takes a bit of getting used to, obviously, after such a long time away. But it’s great to be back in the team and back in the environment and I love it “, said Drizners. Cycling news at the start of step 3.
“Those first two sprint stages were a good introduction to feeling like I was back in the peloton. training hard, so it’s been a long road back. .I’m feeling pretty good so far, though.”
Returning to racing was never going to be easy after such a dramatic experience, but Drizners is as optimistic as can be.
“Everything happens for a reason,” he said, “so I took time to reset myself and focus. There were struggles and other things, but I’m taking the points positive as far as I can.”
The former Australian National U23 champion said that from the time the accident happened until he was in Poland, the team provided a consistent and “incredible” level of support.
“The whole organization has been phenomenal,” he said. “I worked with physios in Nice, the team put that in place obviously and I had full support from them in Dubai. I can’t really single out one individual: just everyone.”
On top of that, he said, he was able to count on the support of his family, with his mother flying to Dubai to be with him during the recovery process. “Without his support, I would not have succeeded.”
So where does he come from in Poland? Rather than setting specific goals, Drizners said he does it “race by race.”
“After here [Pologne] I will reevaluate and look forward to the rest of the season. Hope I can get back on the sprint train for Caleb [Ewan]that’s one of my goals.”
The important thing, in any case, is that he manages to redo the race. Training at his new base in France, he says, has gone well, and after getting the green light from doctors to ride again three months ago, “everything has been fine since.”
It’s true, he said, that after breaking his nose and also hurting his finger in the crash, he has some “battle scars” as he jokingly put it. But above all, his body, on the whole, overcame the accident.
“I had several checks and scans, everyone gave me the green light,” he said, “and that’s why I’m racing here today.”