Planet returns for Team Novo Nordisk at Okolo Slovenska
12 September 2022
Team Novo Nordisk talisman Charles Planet is set to make his return to racing at Okolo Slovenska/Tour of Slovakia next week after a long recovery from an almost career ending collision with a car at the beginning of March.
The 66th edition of the five days stage race starts with the traditional prologue, but this time in the heart of the capital Bratislava. The riders will face a seven-kilometre hit out against the clock before the race moves steadily east over four challenging road stages ahead of the finale in the historic city of Kosice.
“Tour de Slovaquie has always been a race that is good to us,” began General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “We have had some good results there in the past and we always have some great activities with our sponsors who do a fantastic job with local diabetes associations and help to us carry our message of inspiration and empowerment and we’re looking forward to more of the same next week.”
“This year we have additional good news with Charles Planet making his return to racing after a long recovery from a serious training crash at the start of the year. Charles is our captain and having him back is great, he’s done a lot of hard work to be here, and we don’t want to put any pressure on for results, but it will be important for Charles to get the feeling back of being in the peloton again and sharpen his reflexes. Only racing can bring you that and being back with his teammates in the bunch will be good for him.”
Lining up alongside Planet is star sprinter Andrea Peron who will be looking to continue his record-breaking season and Spanish stalwart David Lozano fresh from a strong ride at last week’s Maryland Classic in the USA.
“I’ve done so much hard work to get back into racing condition that I can’t actually believe it’s happening,” said Planet. “After the accident there were doubts about whether I would even walk again, but I always believed I would be back. My family and my girlfriend believed in me, and my team believed in me and now I’m thankful for all the support that I have around me.”
“The recovery process has not been easy. This has been the most difficult thing I’ve done in my life, and to be honest I didn’t think that I would be back this year. When the accident happened, I thought the season was over and I only focused on the recovery, so to be here now is very exciting and its already a big achievement to reach this stage. I have no immediate expectations in terms of results, but I would not ask to race If I did not think I could perform.
“The main thing now is to get the feeling back of racing in the middle of 150 other riders, my legs are good, my training the last few weeks has been really solid, so lets’ see how it goes.”
Brit Sam Brand also produced a determined performance in Baltimore and will be aiming for more of the same in Slovakia as he lines up in support with former Finnish road champion Joonas Henttala, Hungarian veteran Peter Kusztor and neo pro Filippo Ridolfo.
Team Novo Nordisk at Okolo Slovenska/Tour of Slovakia, 13th – 17th September:
Sam Brand (GBR, 31)
Joonas Henttala (FIN, 30)
David Lozano (ESP, 33)
Peter Kusztor (HUN, 37)
Andrea Peron (IT, 33)
Charles Planet (FR,28)
Filippo Ridolfo (IT,20)
Tuesday 13th September, Prologue: Bratislava – 7km
Wednesday 14th September, Stage 1: Samorin – Trnava, 142.3km
Thursday 15th September, Stage 2: Hlohovec – Banska Bystrica, 186.3km
Friday 16th September, Stage 3: Detva – Spisska Nova Ves, 214.8km
Saturday 17th September, Stage 4: Levoca – Kosice, 182.1km