Mathew Hayman is recovering well following a stint in hospital after crashing out of the Tour of Qatar.
The Australian was brought down in what he describes as an “unlucky fall” inside the last kilometre on stage four after a group of riders crashed in front of him.
After arriving back at his European base in Belgium, on the advice of team doctors, further checks revealed both a fractured rib and a punctured lung.
Returning home on Saturday following five days in hospital where he underwent successful treatment, Hayman is already looking towards his comeback.
The 34-year-old will be forced to sit out the first two Classics of the season – Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne – but is confident of joining up with the team barely a week later at the group’s training camp in Tenerife.
Hayman gave us the lowdown on the injury when we caught up with him at home in Belgium, where he revealed: “I suspected a broken rib when I crashed at the time but when the photos came back and said I hadn’t, I thought I’d got away pretty lucky.”
With a successful procedure completed, Hayman is now concentrating on his comeback, adding: “I’ve started to look at some light training and I’m in regular contact with the team doctors. It’s a fine line between wanting to do as much as I can and pushing it too hard.
“It’s a setback, but I’m hoping that it’s not going to be a major issue with the big hits of Flanders and Roubaix some weeks away.”
With the focus now on Tenerife in March, Hayman is understandably frustrated not to be on the start line in Belgium with his team-mates.
“I’m hoping that I won’t be too far behind in terms of form,” he continued, “after all the work I've put in since November. The racing starts next weekend and to not be there is going to be as painful as getting a tube put into your ribs. That said, there’s a very small chance I might be able to make the midweek Le Samyn race on Wednesday (February 27).
“The day before that I’m going to get another scan of the lung to see how it’s recovered. They don’t expect there to be any problems which means I should be able to fly to that training camp and get back in the mix.”
All the team wishes Mat a speedy recovery.