This article originally appeared on Velo News
Michael Valgren will join the EF Education-Nippo development team while he recovers from a pelvic and knee injury sustained in a fall in June.
Valgren fell badly on a descent during the Route d’Occitanie, a race he was racing in preparation for the Tour de France. The incident catapulted him over a guardrail and down a large chasm, leaving him with a fractured pelvis, torn ligaments in his knee and the meniscus in his knee.
The Dane has been working on his rehab ever since, but it’s a long road to recovery for Valgren and he doesn’t know where it will end. Valgren has one more year on contract with the EF Education EasyPost squad, but he will be relegated to the development squad to take the pressure off of his recovery period.
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“I want to be honest. It’s hard to say when I’ll reach my full strength,” Valgren said in an update on the EF website. “But I’m in really good hands and I work hard every day, so I’ll come back sooner or later.
“I love my job and I’ll do anything to get back there. I really don’t want to end my career with an injury. I always want to say that if I don’t want to do it anymore, I’ll quit, and I absolutely don’t ready to quit. I love my life. Not being on a bike, not being a cyclist, I just can’t think about that right now.”
Due to the severity of his injuries, Valgren was not allowed on his bike for several months. Instead, he spent time at home doing exercises to strengthen his joints in between sessions with the physical therapist, which lasted several hours.
He had to wait for his pelvis to heal before doing serious weight training, and pushing himself on a bike, even an exercise bike, was a no-go for some time.
“I’ve gone from exercising 25-30 hours a week to cardiovascular behaviors over months. It was tough because you get a lot of energy from training,” said Valgren. “I was still doing exercises, but these exercises in physio are more about overcoming pain. It’s not a nice feeling. I’m trying to get through as best as I can, but it’s not like I’m getting a big kick out of it. I really miss breaking a sweat and getting my heart rate up.”
Valgren is now allowed to ride a bike, but he’s only allowed to do a few short sessions so he doesn’t overload himself. He does 45 minutes a day on an exercise bike, broken up into 15-minute sessions.
Meanwhile, a recent treatment has allowed him a much greater range of motion in his knee and he has since been able to complete a full pedal revolution.
“It was like a win. It was probably too early, but I had to try. ‘Damn yeah, that’s good,’ I thought,” said Valgren.
This phase is all about the small wins for Valgren and gradually building his strength and range of motion. He’s moving in the right direction and his bike is his best friend on this journey.
“Right now I have to basically maintain that range of motion without having too much pain and then really try to work on my pelvis and hips to get strong, so I don’t compensate for that when I’m on the bike, twisting and stuff like that,” he said. “That’s the good thing about these injuries. The best thing you can do to recover from them is get on the bike and that’s my job, well ever The sooner I could get on the bike the better. I’m finally back on track. I have a lot more range of motion in my knee. I can finally do a full pedal stroke so it’s moving forward now.”
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