WARRNAMBOOL cyclist Ricky Smedts had surgery on a broken finger less than two weeks ago.
The first thing he asked his doctor was whether he’d bit fit enough to compete in the Tour of the South West this weekend.
Smedts, 32 next Monday, was given the all clear and will line up in his second tour, having made his road racing debut in the corresponding event 12 months ago.
“He said with the plates and screws it shouldn’t be too big an issue,” Smedts said of his injury.
The self-employed builder’s left index finger is in a plastic hand splint.
Smedts said the surgery had impacted his preparation for the two-day tour, where he will compete in the masters A section.
“I have been out on a couple of rides since the surgery and the vibrations on the road are a bit painful on the finger,” he said. “It will be painful in other ways too, so that will take my mind off it.”
Smedts started road racing last year, having built a solid mountain biking career after retiring from football at 28.
The father-of-two said road racing was easier with a young family and work commitments.
“It’s been a little bit more accessible,” he said.
“There are so much more good (road) races around the south-west.”
Smedts said the Tour of the South West masters section — for riders over 30 — had attracted high-quality entrants.
He said there were a number of younger riders in the class who would push for honours across the three stages — a 17-kilometre Wangoom Recreation Reserve lap circuit, a 12.7km individual time trial and a Hopkins River criterium.
Warrnambool City Council events and promotion co-ordinator Bec Elmes said the tour embraced cyclists of varying ages and abilities.
“With A, B and C grades for men, women and masters, the tour is a great race for beginners and experts,” she said.
“The event will focus attention on Warrnambool and the district and provides an opportunity to build the profile of cycling in Warrnambool.
“There is the added prestige of the race being part of Cycling Victoria’s road series for those who are keen to compete in multiple races this year.”