Chris Newton returns to racing on Friday at the Tour of Brittany. The 34-year-old has been out of action with a broken collarbone since early March when he collided with a car door during a training ride, ending his hopes of riding the World Track Championships.
“My shoulder’s not too bad,” said Newton. “I’ve still got a broken collar bone, but the plates are holding everything together. I was given the option of either knitting the two parts together, or having it plated. I opted to have it plated, so my shoulder should be in exactly the same position for riding as it was before.”
Newton has been training on the road for several days, and had just completed a five and a half hour ride when we caught up with him. “My endurance is coming back, I’ve just got to build up my top end power to get competitive again,” he added.
The Tour of Brittany is a seven-stage event that includes some tough terrain, but despite his recent injury, Newton added: “I’m intending to ride all of it, but I will see how it goes.
“I will take it as it comes. I will be on a free reign to do whatever I’m comfortable with and whatever helps get my fitness back. I guess I’ll be quite cautious early on and make sure I get through the race.”
Rapha-Condor-Recycling manager John Herety confirmed that Newton’s injury had still not healed properly. “The doctors have reluctantly agreed to let him race. It was a bad break; the bone was shattered in four places, and it is impossible to take the screws out. He’s got a titanium plate in there, the same as Dale [Appleby]. Stainless steel plates tend to snap the bone again if you crash but the titanium will bend.”
Herety will be fielding two teams at the weekend as the Rapha boys also tackle the CiCLE Classic back in Britain. “Dean Downing will be going back to ride the CiCLE and Partridge, House, Newton, Diggle and the Bonser brothers will be the team for Brittany,” he said. “It will be good experience for the younger lads but the type of teams we are against are up a level. We’re going to get a kicking!”
The team rode well at the previous week’s Tour du Loir-et-Cher but Herety felt there was still room for improvement. “There’s more there. We made a few mistakes tactically because we don’t do this level of race often enough, but we have found our legs and are getting back into the swing of it,” he said.