Hayley Simmonds makes speedy recovery to race at European Road Championships
Cambridge cyclist suffered fracture only six weeks ago
Hayley Simmonds has had to temper expectations for the European Road Championships after a battle with injury just to make the starting line.
The 30-year-old Cambridge-based cyclist will compete in the women’s time trial in Glasgow only six weeks after fracturing her elbow in the VO Energy Women’s Tour.
On stage three, another cyclist swung drastically from the left-hand side of the road to the right and took out Simmonds’ front wheel, forcing her to slide across the road at high speed.
Initially, it was not known that Simmonds had broken her elbow as she was sent to hospital for stitches after cutting her arm open, but it was diagnosed after an X-ray and she returned to Addenbrooke’s for surgery.
Simmonds was only discharged from hospital six weeks ago Sunday.
“It’s frustrating as I still don’t have full range of motion back,” she said. “At the moment, I can’t fully straighten it. I had one week totally off the bike, a couple of weeks of turbo, and then I got back on the road two-and-a-half weeks ago.
“It was a really badly-timed break because I ended up missing the national championships, which have been a big focus of mine.
“It was why initially I wasn’t supposed to be doing the Women’s Tour, because I was meant to be doing a block of time trial build-up ready for nationals.”
It is Simmonds’ first broken bone, and she did not have any prior knowledge of elbow fractures either and the initial problem was putting weight through her left-hand side.
“I was quite worried about not just being able to ride Euros but being in a state of fitness that I was happy with,” she said.
“I feel not 100 per cent confident with exactly where my form is. It’s definitely not where I would have wanted it to be without the injury.”
The fightback to fitness has meant expectations at the Euros have altered, with things having been far from plain sailing since Simmonds won a bronze medal in the time trial at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.
“I have to alter my ambitions a little bit,” she said. “Before the injury I was aiming for a really good result, now I would be happy with top 12.
“I would have liked more but I’m still not 100 per cent. I still can’t get out of the saddle properly on the bike to accelerate so I’m having to do all of my accelerations in the saddle which is not ideal.
“I’m race fit and then will hopefully be selected for Worlds, which are another seven weeks after Europeans, and by that time I should be back to normal.”