When US champion Joey Rosskopf crashed heavily at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and broke his left elbow, his early races were transformed into a period of healing and recovery.
Flash forward eleven weeks and resplendent once more in the stars and stripes jersey, the Decatur man hits out for home one kilometer from the final finish line at the International Tour of Hellas in Ioannina, Greece.
Using a roundabout as a launchpad, the drone beaming the images across Facebook tracks the US champ as he uses every aero gain he can muster – including tucking in that aforementioned elbow – to reel back in the lone leader and evade the splintered chasing pack.
Behind, eventual stage winner Emil Toudal (BHS – PL Beton Bornholm) also sees his opportunity and wrestles his way past Rosskopf in the dying meters with the Human Powered Health rider holding on for the second place.
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“It was my idea to do a late flyer because I don’t have enough strength still to tug at the bars and do a high max-watts sprint,” Rosskopf said afterwards about his finish heroics.
Going from a broken elbow to second place has been a two and a half month journey for Rosskopf.
“For the recovery, a lot of time on the trainer was obviously the first thing I could do,” he explains. “With the trainer, the intensity of it, the heat and how much you sweat made it really hard to do more than a couple of days in a row.”
Rosskopf turned to Catalyte® from Thorne to aid in his preparation and recovery. An electrolyte restoration complex, the product helps fight fatigue, promotes calorie control, and helps fuel your muscles and brain by replenishing key minerals lost during high-intensity activity.
“A big part of it was hydration so Catalyte from Thorne came into the equation there to be able to repeat days on the trainer,” says Rosskopf. “You end every workout in a pool of sweat so it’s really hard to drink and replenish enough. I was definitely hitting the Catalyte a lot, a few bottles a day during the training so that I could gradually progress before getting back to my normal mountain rides and loops around Girona.”
When he was back on the bike, Rosskopf’s eyes turned back to competition.
“The motivation to come back was to be out there with teammates, this is what I want to be doing, I don’t want to be sitting on the sideline watching guys going to races every week and I wanted to be there figuring out what we can do together and I really enjoyed that part of it after a couple of months away.”
A final stage as turbulent as the rest of the week in ‘Hellas’, Gavin Mannion was also doing his thing out in the breakaway on the rolling stage before the race was neutralised due to heavy fog off the day’s main climb, the Katara Pass.
Having hunted KOM points, Mannion’s group was brought back by the team of GC winner Aaron Gate (Bolton Equities Black Spoke Pro Cycling), delivering the group into Ioannina before Rosskopf’s final one thousand meter dash.
It has been a week of getting back into that racing mindset for the Georgia native.
“I came here with pretty conservative expectations, really just trying to stay safe and not re-injure anything,” he explained. “Getting back into race rhythm made it easier riding with the elbow than training because I could forget about it until after the stage each day.”
Later, as seen on Chad Haga’s Instagram stories, the team toasted the finish to the week in Greece with a well-earned order of burgers and fries.
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International Tour of Hellas stage 5 result
1 TOUDAL Emil – BHS – PL Beton Bornholm 4:35:24
2 ROSSKOPF Joey – Human Powered Health ”
3 AALRUST Håkon – Team Coop ”
4 TAGLIANI Filippo – Drone Hopper – Androni Giocattoli ”
5 BARONCINI Filippo – Trek – Segafredo ”