Stefan Denifl: «I have the potential to improve»

27 August 2013

IAM Cycling

IAM Cycling

A broad smile lights up his tanned face.  Stefan Denifl (25) is rolling again after having a great week in the professional peloton.  A contrast to his day on Friday, July 5th, when the IAM Cycling rider from Austria found himself in the Hollabrunn hospital with a broken collarbone after he crashed in the sixth stage of the Tour of Austria.  Successfully operated on in a hospital in Innsbruck, his home town, Denifl, who took second place at the Austrian national road race earlier this summer, has been working hard to find his top condition quickly.

Scheduled to race the Tour du Limousin as a way to help find the rhythm of competition, Stefan Denifl was not spared anything as the entire team was called upon often to help defend the race lead of Martin Elmiger.  After spending the weekend recovering in the region around Châteauroux, Denifl, who won the best climber’s jersey at the Tour of Bavaria, is back today at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes eager to help his teammates win a stage or even the overall race.

IAM Cycling

Stefan Denifl, do you remember your crash at the Tour of Austria?

I did not see the sign post, which signaled the beginning of the feed zone, because it was hidden by another rider.  I collided with it against my right shoulder, and found myself helplessly on the ground.  And since the impact swung me around, I fell on my left side.  It did not take me long to realize that I had broken my collarbone.    

And how was the operation?

It was a simple fracture.  Doctors set it together with a nail that will just need to remain in for three months, so I can have it removed right after my season is over.

Did you start training again right away on the rollers?

I gave myself some time.  I had planned on taking a break after the Tour of Austria anyways.  So apart from the physio every two days, I did not touch my bike for two weeks.  Then I used the rollers for five or six days before returning to the road.

IAM Cycling

Is finding your top form again before the season is over a priority?

Before the operation, I had set a goal of September for returning to racing with the squad.  These days, though, a broken collarbone has become more or less commonplace for a cyclist.  So I managed to return to racing a couple of weeks before that, and I am even ready to apply for a place on the Austrian team for the World’s Road Race in Florence at the end of September (September 29).

Have you recovered now from the Tour du Limousin?

I am not unhappy with the work I accomplished these four days.  We put in a lot of effort to defend Martin Elmiger’s yellow jersey over roads that were anything but flat.  I was glad to get some rest this weekend before jumping into the Tour du Poitou-Charentes.  I plan on showing my form for the Tour of Lombardy, which is a week after Worlds, and I should be in prime shape.

Are your performances this season equal to what you would have foreseen at the beginning of the year?

In the spring, I was probably better than I expected before my injury in early July threw me back a bit.  In 2014, I plan to take another step forward.  I will be 26 years old then, and I still have the potential to improve.