FORMER Melbourne to Warrnambool champion Oliver Kent-Spark has overcome a demoralising broken collarbone which threatened to derail his campaign.
The Geelong-based cyclist – who claimed his maiden victory in the historic race in 2014 – suffered the fracture while competing in the Tour of the Great South Coast in July.
Instead of a planned build-up to the race, the 24-year-old underwent surgery to have a plate inserted in his collarbone and spent the next six weeks with his arm in a sling.
His preparation has mirrored that of Warrnambool cyclist Sam Lane, who also fractured his collarbone in the July event.
“It is a vastly different preparation to 2014 when I enjoyed a magical period after training every day with everything going my way,” he said.
“I’ve been back on the bike for only three weeks after weeks of physio exercises and a week of indoor training at home. Hopefully it will be enough to get me through but it really is a slow build-up.
“I have residual fitness from before the crash. I’m completely over the injury now – for a bit I couldn’t get out of the saddle of the bike without pain – and despite the hampered preparation I believe I can be competitive again.”
Kent-Spark established himself as one of the nation’s most promising cyclists with victory in the 2014 Melbourne to Warrnambool and a third placing in the centenary race the following year.