WARRNAMBOOL cyclist Matt Lane hopes this week’s Tour of the Great South Coast will be another step on the road to recovery.
Lane is part of the six-rider Eastern Oak/Anchor Point team contesting the five-day inaugural tour, which starts in Portland today.
The 18-year-old is back at 90 per cent fitness after a horrific racing crash which knocked out three front teeth, broke his jaw and crushed his bottom teeth.
His recovery has been gradual and will reach another milestone when he rides the testing national road series event.
Lane said his physical wounds had almost healed, although he will be back at a dentist next week to have new teeth inserted in his mouth.
But he said the crash had also damaged his confidence and restoring that had been the toughest part of his recovery.
“I am a bit nervous,” he said.
“I haven’t got my confidence back, really, my full confidence being in big groups.
“This tour will help. The fitness is getting there. I’m nearly back to where I was.”
“I reckon (restoring my confidence) will take a fair while. These sorts of races, with big groups and good riders, it should come back quicker.”
Lane is one of a handful of south-west Victorian riders contesting the Tour of the Great South Coast.
His teammates include Mortlake’s Darcy Woolley and Portland’s Dylan Lindsey, as well as Geelong’s Nick Squillari.
South Australians Daniel Herrewyn and Matthew Opperman complete the development team.
Lane said riding in the tour was a chance for the team’s young riders to gain experience.
“Just finishing with them will be a bonus,” he said.
“We’ve got some good riders. It’s strong for around the south-west, really,” he said.
The Tour of the Great South Coast starts with a 40-kilometre criterium in Portland this morning, before a 76km road race from Portland to Nelson.
Lane said strong winds during the five days would favour the stronger teams who could “be out the front and split everyone up”.
“I like the hills, the steeper hills, but I’m not sure how I’ll go,” he said.