Niki Terpstra has set himself the “realistic goals” of racing the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix after a horror crash during training in mid-June.
The Dutchman suffered a collapsed lung, broken ribs and collarbone and a concussion after geese walked out in front of him while he was doing high-speed motor-pacing in the Netherlands.
The Total Direct Energie rider is now back training and will aim for the cobbled Classics scheduled for October, the 36-year-old having won Paris-Roubaix in 2014 and the Tour of Flanders in 2018.
After starting rehabilitation treatment with a physiotherapist, Terpstra got back on the bike for the first time in weeks, then joining up with his team-mates at a training camp in the Dordogne region of France.
“Because I can expand my training step by step, I decided to join the training camp of my team. At certain times of today’s training, I regretted that decision,” Terpstra said, his sense of humour still intact despite his misfortune. “But I’m happy to see everyone again.”
It’s been an unlucky couple of years for Terpstra, who crashed out of the 2019 Tour of Flanders as he looked to defend his title, suffering severe head trauma that kept him in hospital overnight as a precaution.
The Dutchman was then unable to take the start line of Paris-Roubaix as he recovered from the crash, before also crashing out of the Tour de France on stage 11 that summer with a fractured scapula.
Before the coronavirus break, Terpstra raced the Saudi Tour, Ruta del Sol, the opening weekend in Belgium and Paris-Nice.
The Tour of Flanders will take on Sunday October 18, during the Giro d’Italia, while Paris-Roubaix, a week later on October 25, sets up a ‘super Sunday’ of cycling, as the final stage of the Giro and Tourmalet stage of the Vuelta a España also take place.