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Photo ©: Bettini

Photo: © Rob Karman

The Anna Millward Diary

Australian Anna Millward (Wilson until her marriage in 2000) is one of the best women's cyclists in the world, and was ranked number 1 for the first part of 2000. She has won races everywhere, from time trials in France, World Cup races in Switzerland to stage races in the USA, and was the first cyclist ever to break the Hour Record under the "new" UCI rules. Anna possesses an incredible sprint and this combined with her power and determination makes her a formidable cyclist on any terrain. She is also one of the friendliest and most optimistic people you could ever meet.

Rehab and recovery

April 2002

After nearly five months of intense frustration, where I was only able to ride in small gears and couldn't put my finger on the problem, four weeks ago I had an MRI on the one piece of my body that had somehow been missed and it showed that I had a tear in the tendon of my gluteus medius muscle [a large muscle under the gluteus maximus or buttock that connects the pelvis and the top of the femur – anatomical Ed]. I must have done this when I crashed in the World Championship Time Trial last October and fell on my hip. It was so hard to diagnose because I was getting all my pain down the inside of my leg - from muscles that were trying to compensate for the damaged one and couldn't cope with the extra workload. So, finally I know why I have been such a cripple for so long.

I immediately started a rehab program, which basically entailed a light weights program to rebuild the strength in the muscle and teach it to do its job again. The result has been really quite amazing. Within two weeks of a treatment program that was at last aimed at a tangible problem, I had at least tripled the strength of the affected muscle. Not that hard to do when you are starting from kitten strength! But the release of the tension from all the muscles down the inside of my leg and the feeling of actually being able to pedal with some power again was incredible.

I've been warned that complete recovery will be a long process - tendons do not heal very quickly! It will probably take around three months for me to bring the strength of the muscle up to what the other side already has, which basically takes me to the start of July. But even after four weeks of work I feel like a different person and I am going to take part in my first road race since January on May 1, in New Mexico, USA. I hope my recovery will be a steady upward curve from there.

Photo: © Rob Karman

So, you can expect me to be a little quiet for a couple of months yet, but hopefully by the Commonwealth Games and then the last half of the season, including the Worlds in Belgium, I should be firing.

Cheers Anna