Larry Warbasse on bounce out of lost season: ‘Every time I got going, something else happened’

Former US national champion saw 2022 derailed by injuries and illness – now he's back and racing toward the Giro d'Italia.

Photo: Getty Images

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JEBEL HAFEET, UAE (VN) – Larry Warbasse is cherishing being back in the bunch after a season sunk by a string of setbacks.

The former U.S. national champion last month clicked back into his Ag2r-Citroën race cleats for the first time in six months.

“Last year was a rough season. Every time I got going, something else happened. It was tough,” Warbasse told VeloNews at the UAE Tour. “I was pretty excited to start racing again this year – it feels like it’s been a while.”

Warbasse saw just 36 days of racing last year in the Michigan-native’s own annus horribilis.

A crash in Liège-Bastogne-Liège put him out for two weeks. A bout with COVID at Tour de Suisse lost him more time. A broken pelvis sustained at the Tour de Wallonie was the final nail in the coffin of his 2022 calendar.

“I would have periods where I got into some really good form in training, then something would happen, and I’d just have to start over,” Warbasse said in Abu Dhabi earlier this week.

“Then I thought I was going to race at the end of the year after I broke my pelvis, but the team decided it was better not to take the risk. So that was too bad. I knew I was in good shape.”

Also read: Warbasse breaks pelvis, out for at least a month

Warbasse counted himself lucky while he sat on the sideline that he knew his French squad wanted to keep him on the books for 2023. But a pro out of the peloton is not a happy pro.

“I was in a contract year, but I knew from early that the team wanted to keep me, so it wasn’t a tonne of stress in that respect. But it was difficult for me personally. I want to perform for myself more than anyone else,” Warbasse said.

“I think it’s the same for a lot of cyclists. We have the pressure to perform from the team and to get a contract and stuff, but above all, we want to perform for ourselves. You become like a high-level athlete because you have that motivation internally.”

Warbasse rides into a busy program for his 11th pro season. Paris-Nice, Milan-San Remo, the Ardennes, and the Giro d’Italia highlight the 32-year-old’s tentative calendar.

Although his long-sought Tour de France debut may be made to wait one more year, for now, Warbasse is just glad to be back on the bike.

“You always have like a little bit of anxiety when you don’t race for a long time. You know you have good numbers and training’s going well, but a race is always a different thing,” he said. “Of course, usually it works out just fine, but there’s always that concern.”

Warbasse had no need to be worried. Some 160km+ out front as last survivor from the break on the Emirati tour’s sixth stage Saturday saw him begin his quest to make up lost time.

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