The scars from Peter Stetina’s fractured tibia and patella injuries in his right knee are still clearly visible. The anniversary of his terrible crash in the 2015 Vuelta al País Vasco is fast approaching, but Stetina remains focused on his long battle to return to full strength as a professional in Europe.
“It’s coming well, there’s no pain racing, which is really nice but it’s just the muscle is taking a little while to come back,” Stetina explained to Cyclingnews at the recent Vuelta a Andalucia.
“When you don’t walk for four months, you lose so much strength,” he said. “Even though everything points well in training, it’s those high-power race accelerations that you can’t really practice and the muscle still gets fatigued a little earlier than normal.”
Despite having spent so much time without walking following the crash, Stetina’s determination to make a return to racing drove him to race at the end of 2015. He placed 81st in the Tour of Utah on less than a month’s training and 29th in the Japan Cup. This year, now with Trek-Segafredo after leaving BMC, he was 35th overall in the Santos Tour Down Under and finished 48th at the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta del Sol.
Stetina says he feels better after every race he does. “At the Tour Down Under I was getting more fatigued, and here I’m feeling better later in the finale. It’s still got a ways to go. It’s just one of those waiting things where the more racing I do the more it comes back.”
Recovery is a slow process
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