While her Argos-Shimano teammates were in China to compete in the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup, sprinter Kirsten Wild had to cheer on her teammates from afar. Wild suffered a broken shoulder in a crash at the Omloop van Borsele at the end of April (though she still finished the race in 20th place despite the injury).
The injury is a huge disappointment for Wild, who kicked off the season in great form, claiming 10 victories including three stages and the overall at Ladies Tour of Qatar, four stages of the Energiewacht Tour and the Ronde van Gelderland.
We caught up with her as she kicked off her rest period early.
"This is indeed a huge disappointment," Wild said. "I was hoping for a good result in China to end the early season."
"How do I deal with it? I’m very bummed out," Wild continued. "But there’s no use in continuing to feel bummed out. This injury forced me to start my rest period early and I’m making the best of it by doing things I usually don’t have time for like visiting with friends. I do not have much experience with serious injuries, so I do not know exactly how to maintain my form but for now, I’m taking it day-by-day. I can’t do much yet because of the pain in my shoulder but fortunately I have a lot of help from the team doctor and coach."
Wild, a formidable force on both the road and the track, kicked off the year transitioning between the early season road races and big track competitions like the Zesdaagse van Rotterdam and the UCI Track Cycling Championship, and she claimed victories in both.
"I don’t have much difficulty with the transition from road to track and track to road. I do this a few times a year. I like the variety and it keeps me motivated and eager," said Wild.
While last winter everything was gearing up for the summer Olympics, the post-Olympic winter was relatively quiet and a good time to focus on early season fitness. "You never know how a season is going to go in advance but I could tell from my SRM data that things were going well," said Wild. "I had a good feeling at the Dutch National Track Championships and the 6daagse in Rotterdam and I was able to maintain that feeling through the early season."
With her primary goal now being recovery, Wild said she does hope to be back in form for the Giro and go for a stage win. Additional season goals include the World Cup race in Sweden, the Holland Ladies Tour and the European Track Championships in Apeldoorn.
Wild stated that, as in years past, Marianne Vos and Ina Teutenberg are her major competition but Ellen van Dijk has become a fierce competitor, too.
"I see it as a challenge to race against Marianne Vos and the like. Her performances drive you to get the best out of yourself as well. She also means a lot to women's cycling in general, just look at the media coverage of the sport in the Netherlands," said Wild. "The downside however is that sometimes the results of other riders remain somewhat underexposed, though those are also top performances."
Wild said she’s enjoying her role at Argos-Shimano, stating there are some similarities between this team and her experience in the 2009-2010 Cervelo Test Team, which also had both a men’s and a women’s team.
"I’m enjoying myself here. We ride with top gear from Felt and Shimano, and the cyclists all get along well."
Keep up with Wild and wish her a speedy recovery via twitter (@kirsten_wild) and on her website at http://www.kirstenwild.nl/.