October 10, 2001
Over the past few years, I've learned to trust to my instincts... sometimes they're wrong, more often they're right. So, after I got back from Paris - Bourges last week and, almost immediately, went down with a viral infection I knew (call it gut feeling) that this would upset my preparation for the World Championships in Lisbon more than what would be manageable.
Although I haven't touched the bike for 6 days now, until last night I kept hoping for improvement. I thought, if I could still be able to join the Australian National Team, I could ride the most important race of my season on character and experience.
Today I consulted my personal physician and team doctor of the CST team, Dr Joost De Maeseneer a third time. He examined me thoroughly and advised me to let go of my aspirations of riding a top result in the World Championships in Lisbon on Sunday. The infection had gone down to my lungs and Dr. De Maeseneer has prescribed a treatment with antibiotics.
At the moment I heard his diagnosis, I realized my fears had become reality; it would be impossible for me to reach the goal I set for myself; a podium finish in this year's World Championships. Considering the top form I was in just before getting sick, after the nice results I gathered this season on top of my seventh place in the World Championships in Plouay last year; I did not want to aim for anything less.
I prefer not to be in Lisbon just to make up the numbers so I have decided to concentrate on my recovery, to put all my energy into it. That way, I will also try and better my chances of riding a strong Sun Tour. I owe it to my Australian supporters to ride this race aiming for the best possible result. In case I can recover smoothly over the next few days, I know this is still within my reach.
So...there we are...no journey to the airport with Sabine on Friday because my aims and aspirations have to be put on hold. It's annoying since the Lisbon parcours suited me to perfection. And, not being there is as bitter a pill to swallow as these damnable antibiotics. Maybe Zolder next year, although that's more a sprinter's World's but then again, who knows?
For now, it's another few days of rest and recovering from this bloody bug. I'll probably take my frustration out on the hi-fi here in Zottegem and play some music extraordinarily loud (the moment these headaches go that is).
Before too long, it'll be that interminable (groan) 'plane ride to Melbourne where I'll be met by warm people, some sunshine and eleven days of tough racing... and yes, so long as I can shake this infection out of me, I'll be there or thereabouts... at least, that's what my instincts are telling me. As I said earlier, I'm not there to make up the numbers.
All the best,
ps I will try and answer all your questions one by one in the coming weeks, and over the off-season. Please be patient!