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Riding the Tour with a sole ankle

18 July 2011
Imagen de la noticia ‛Riding the Tour with a sole ankle’

Andrey Amador resists in his maiden Grande Boucle participation after two weeks of racing with a 2nd-grade sprain since first day in the French grandtour“You don’t have to be a doctor to see that nearly a miracle was needed to stay on course.” Those are the words from Jesús Hoyos, Movistar Team doctor at the 2011 Tour de France, on Andrey Amador’s ankle condition after the first stage in the French stagerace. The Costa Rican, riding his first ever Grande Boucle, knew from the very first crash in this year’s Tour how the hardness of this race’s first week feels. The diagnose: “Sprained right ankle, 2nd grade.” The usual prescription: “From ten to fifteen days of total immobilization.”

“However, these prople are made of a different shape,” appoints Hoyos. That’s the only explanation to what was checked after. Amador, still with much pain in his ankle, is still on course after fifteen stages, with Pirenaic climbs, wind, rain and even hailstorm on the way, and only five days to complete his dream and the one from an entire country, which follows him up to the minute and even sent a post stamp with his face -along with three other remarkable Costa Rican sportsmen: athlete Brenes, boxer Gabriels and footballer Nery Ruiz-, a clear sign of the fervor towards Andrey in Costa Rica: “I’m very grateful to the support given to me from there. All the media, the people through the social networks… All of them devoted to me into a sport that is a minor figure in the country. Without them, I don’t know if I’d have got to here, because the effort is so big,” says Amador about the monitoring of his performances in Costa Rica, the first ever rider in his country to ride the Tour.

“I had really bad feelings during the first days, because pain was huge and all of it was also a blow to my moral,” recognizes Andrey. “After that, bit by bit I got better, but at the end you get pedalling with no balance from side to side for many stages, and you suffer. I struggled a lot during the last two stages, especially yesterday. As we commented together with the doctor, sometimes you take a step forward and two backwards. I was about to give up. I really hope that the rest day goes well for me, and keep myself into the race. The easiest thing would have been to go home days ago, but I want to finish the Tour for my team and my country.” Amador, the lanterne rouge of the Tour, feels that his effort is paying off on the French roads: “The public is really supporting me from the sides of the road, I feel they know me, especially the fans from the Basque Country where I raced into amateur stage. They’re supporting me a lot and I’m really grateful to them. I don’t like being last, but it’s an anecdote. I know that, if I hadn’t been at 100%, I wouldn’t have made it this place, and that makes me feel calm. Better to get last than getting home on day 1, because that’d have left me really disappointed.”

Movistar Team’s doctor is also looking forward to Amador’s progress -the rider continuing during today’s rest with his treatment of ice, anti-inflammation and ultrasound- but also notes: “If he completes the Tour, it will be one of the most extreme things I’d have ever seen in my long career in cycling. Not due to the hardness of the injuries, but the difficulty of bearing it into the sport’s most demanding race,” assures Hoyos.