Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Zabalo eyeing recovery

Having dramatically escaped death only four months ago, Xabier Zabalo has revealed he's likely to make a full recovery. The Orbea youngster crashed badly at the Giro Valle d'Aosta in Italy in August, fracturing his jaw, a temporal bone and being diagnosed with a hematoma. His injuries left his budding career in jeopardy, but now, less than two months before the 2012 season gets underway on Mallorca, the 24-year-old says he's likely to once again don the iconic blue jersey of Orbea next year.

"The doctors tell me my injuries are healing well and that I'll return to full health", the rider told el Diario de Navarra. "My life is returning to normal, but I still have to visit the neurologist for another check-up before being discharged. Let's wait to hear what they've got to say, but I'm looking forward to making my comeback".

Having spent considerable time off the bike in recent months, the native of Olatzagutia has naturally put on weight and is some way off top form at the time of writing. In a bid to get back into shape for the upcoming season, Zabalo has therefore spent time in the gym trying to regain lost muscle mass.

"In the gym, my body wants more. I need to up the hours. I've regained some of what I've lost, but I've still got room for improvement. When I'm on the bike, I'm cautious. I'm not afraid, but I'm being cautious. I have no problem staying upright though. I feel safe on my bike".

According to the newspaper, he's now doing regular two-hour rides on the road. Zabalo has clearly got his sights set on continuing as a professional, but he's also been offered a job as a trainer on the team in the case he opts for a career off the bike.

"They've reserved a spot for me on the team. They've told me not to hurry, but I really want to rejoin the team. We'll see how it goes".

Orbea roster 2012: Jon Aberasturi, Aritz Bagües, Carlos Barbero, Mikel Bizkarra, Andoni Blazquez, Aritz Etxebarria, Omar Fraile, Igor Merino, Haritz Orbe, Xabier Zabalo and Illart Zuazubiskar.

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