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Interview with Michael Barry on His Broken Elbow and Season Ahead

by Erinne Willock

April 12, 2012 (Girona, Spain) – Pedal caught up with Michael Barry (Team Sky) who has been resting at home in Girona because of a hard crash he had in February at the Tour of Qatar where he suffered a broken elbow. It’s been a long road to recovery for him, but he’s starting to get back on track and will soon be in shape to get back in the pro peloton once again.

We were all sorry to hear about your injuries from The Tour of Qatar and we hope you’re recovering well. Can you describe your injuries and did you need surgery?
Michael Barry: Thanks. I’m doing much better and am back to a normal training load. I fractured the radial head of my left elbow which required surgery and a plate. I also had a small fracture on the greater trochanter of my femur. The fracture on my femur kept me off the bike for four weeks as it had to heal properly before I could put any weight on it – no walking etc. At four weeks I was then able to start riding indoors and swimming. At six weeks I was allowed to get back on the road and do some easy riding. Now, I’m at eight weeks and I am starting to feel like a bike racer again. Over the next week, I’ll start motor pacing and riding in the mountains to increase my fitness and simulate racing.

Were you able to go home after your crash to recover?
MB: I flew to Manchester the morning after I crashed in Qatar and had the surgery done there. The day after the surgery was done, I was back home with my family in Girona.

How did the crash happen in Qatar? I know the nerves are always high being the first race of the season. It’s also flat, windy and fast – did this play into what happened?
MB: The Tour of Qatar is inherently nervous as it is the first race of the year, the crosswinds determine the winner, the roads aren’t always ideal and positioning is crucial. When I crashed, the peloton had just split into several groups in the crosswind. We were under 30km from the finish and I was in the second echelon with a few of my teammates. The group was chasing hard to regroup with the front echelon. At about 65 km/hr the rider directly in front of me lost his grip on his handlebars when he hit several cateye reflectors in the road. He lost control of his bike, swerved, crashed and I hit him. I had less than a second to react, so I tried to jump his bike but didn’t make it. On the asphalt, I knew immediately that my arm was broken and my leg was damaged as I couldn’t get up.

You were coming off some good form near the end of last season so this early injury is unfortunate. I assume you’ve had to readjust some season goals; can you tell us what you’ll focus on now?
MB: Yes, I have readjusted my goals and will aim to be in shape by June. As I have had a good chunk of time off the bike, I should be able to finish off the season in good shape. My first race back will most likely be the Tour of Norway in May. From there, I’ll race the Tour of Luxembourg and the Tour de Suisse. After that, my schedule will be determined based on my fitness and the team’s goals.

You’ve been with Team Sky for a few years – how is the team reacting to your injury and recovery?
MB: The team has been incredibly supportive. They haven’t pressured me to return to racing and have insisted I heal properly before racing. They’ve supported me through the initial stages of the injury, the surgery and then the rehab. I feel very fortunate that I wasn’t left alone to recover and had very good medical advice and support.

Thanks for your time and all the best with your recovery and return to racing.
MB: Thank you.

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