Mar 23, 2016 – Tomorrow Kris Boeckmans will return to competition. At the Handzame Classic the 29-year-old Belgian sprinter will make his comeback after a severe crash in the eighth stage of the Vuelta more than six months ago. It took a long and sloping rehabilitation process, but now Kris is ready to take back his spot in the peloton. That Kris can already participate in a race is much sooner than expected, says team doctor Servaas Bingé.

Lotto-Soudal/Yuzuru Sunada

Servaas Bingé: “When we began the rehabilitation Kris had a long way to go. Kris had lost more than fifteen kilograms, he first had to gain weight before we could really start. The first exercise was to sit on a chair, which gives an idea about his condition at that point. Afterwards we kept setting different steps, both mentally and physically.”

“The fact that it ran so smoothly has much to do with how strong Kris was at the time of the crash. Also his immense resilience and positive attitude led to this success. The parameters of Kris are the same as before his crash, his basic condition is very good. Physically he is ready to race again.”

Boeckmans is really looking forward to it. The fact that his rehabilitation ran so smoothly is no coincidence he says.

Kris Boeckmans: “From the moment I could start my rehabilitation I didn’t doubt for a second. I didn’t throw away one day. The most important aspect in this story is my mental resilience. I had a goal in mind and knew that I would achieve it. I gave all I got without forcing anything. Mentally it was harder than physically. It’s not a problem to do the exercises and follow the guidelines you get. But sometimes you have a difficult moment and then you have to be mentally strong enough to hold on.”

“Tomorrow I’ll start the Handzame Classic as I’d start any race. Mentally I am more than one hundred per cent ready, I’ll see how it will be physically. The test are really good and the trainings are going great. But every rider knows a race isn’t the same as a training. There are so many things that can happen. I don’t know how it will be during the race, but I’m keen.”

Servaas Bingé: “We did all we could to get Kris ready to race. Medically Kris is perfectly capable of finishing the race. But physical parameters are easy to measure. There is also the mental aspect. Together with the mental coach, Nathan Kahan, we tried to counter as much as we could beforehand, but nobody can predict how it will go during the race.”

Marc Sergeant, manager Lotto Soudal: “Our first goal was to let Kris become human again. That was already a big performance. The fact that he’s back in competition so soon tells a lot about Kris as a person. To me it’s surreal that he has already come this far. I saw him just after his crash and then there are different scenarios you think of. His rehabilitation has been impressive. The result isn’t important tomorrow. It just is fabulous that Kris is part of the peloton again and that he wants to perform again.”