WCN quicklink >> Mirjam Melchers planning 2007 return
Mirjam Melchers on the way for 2007
More surgery required, but steady progress
The year 2006 started with an enormous disappointment for Mirjam Melchers-van Poppel, despite her victory in Worlds biggest cycling classic, the Tour of Flanders.
A visit to Veldhoven Hospital saw her diagnosed with a vasoconstriction in her left leg. This was operated upon in early June and Melchers began her rehabilitation in order to prepare for the World Championships in Salzburg.
In the run up to the World Championships, Melchers started the Euregio Ladies Tour without ambition but with some good results (she placed in the top ten in the first two stages). Her form was improving and she was feeling good until the crash which occurred in the closing kilometres of the third stage. She broke her hip, pelvis and jaw. Melchers remembers: "I still know everything from the crash, I conscious. But fortunately all the bad memories are gradually disappearing."
Even from the early days after the crash, there no chance that the "Gelderlandse" (a native of the Gelderland region of the Netherlands) would retire from her favourite sport, despite some fears that she would have to stop racing. "But in that period the recovery process was much more important for me. To ride optimal with a bicycle again was at that moment not my first priority. First I had to go back to basics, to function normally and to do the daily things without feeling any pain." She continues "I have thought about a lot of things, you start to realise that there is much more [to life] than just cycling. At certain moments during the recovery process and the rehabilitation I have thought to retire. It was certainly not a normal crash, but due to the fact that I am now able to and want to speak about it, I have decided to go on."
Now, three months later, Melchers is doing very well. There is still some uncertainty about whether she will be able to return to the highest level of competition, to continue her career. But, according to her husband and manager Jean-Paul van Poppel, she is very motivated to make a comeback. He and the team are well aware that once she starts riding seriously again, she will give her all, as as someone who is really addicted to cycling.
Melchers still has some medical procedures to endure before concentrating fully on the bike. On January 10th, doctors will determine whether they can remove the screws in her pelvis. On 26 January 2007 she will undergo another operation on her jaw in the University Hospital in Aachen.
TT - Stage 1 of Euregio Signing souvenir jerseys On her way to victory in Flanders
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