Saturday, September 24, 2011

Zabalo recovering; undecided over future

Orbea rider Xabier Zabalo is likely to make a full recovery from injuries sustained in that terrible crash at the Giro della Valle d'Aosta in late August. The 23-year-old was diagnosed with a hematoma, a fractured temporal bone and a broken jaw. Zabalo remembers nothing from the incident, but told El Diario de Navarro that he's glad he doesn't. "I don't remember anything from the accident. Not before or after it either. No one is completely sure how it happened. The team DS saw my bike crushed against the guardrail at the top of a cliff and me lying face-down on the pavement on the opposite side. I actually prefer not to remember anything", he said, adding that he simply feels "lucky to be alive".

After having a clot removed and his face "reconstructed" after several days in the ICU and the operating room, Zabalo says he's now just happy to be healthy. "I think just being alive and healthy will take on a new meaning for me", he said philosophically. "You know there's a risk involved when you ride your bike for a living, but you don't really give it much thought." Whether he'll return to the peloton is still undecided though: "I enjoyed being a professional cyclist and I'll enjoy riding my bike even after this. But I won't go for a ride until I'm 100% recovered. My body will tell me if I should keep riding a bike as a pro. If I have to put an end to my career I won't care too much as my studies mean I have other options in life. Life will go on. Orbea have assured me there's a place for me on the team if I want to continue though. We'll see".

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