Jean-Michel Saive on road to recovery

An air of resignation (Photo: courtesy of Jean-Michel Saive)

by Ian Marshall, Editor

The Col du Galibier and Mont Ventoux; they are the “sacred mountains”, year after year the highest points on the Tour de France. Jean-Michel Saive has climbed both and never suffered an accident.

However, on Monday 21st May, much closer to sea level, near the stadium of the celebrated football club, Standard Liège, he came to grief. He suffered a cycling mishap not of his own making.

At a set of traffic lights, a young cyclist ahead stopped unexpectedly, there was the faintest of collisions but sufficient to unbalance Jean-Mi and cause him to fall to the ground. Unfortunately, he fell on the edge of the pavement and broke his left wrist. Immediately he was taken to hospital and four days later underwent an operation; he now has a metal plate in the wrist.

Physiotherapy each day, slowly but surely he is on the road to recovery. Right handed the famed forehand top spin can still be executed and he can just about serve. Golf is out of the question, patience is needed but that’s not easy for Jean-Mi; he is a sportsman, an athlete. He is back on the bicycle! Zwift, virtual training for cycling; thankfully no road junctions in sight!

Always competitive, trying reach higher levels, in the world of table tennis he ascended to the very top. He was listed in the number one spot on the world rankings for no less than 515 days.

However, following his recent escapade, it would appear that such a status in the cycling world still belongs to his compatriot, Eddy Merckx. In the eyes of those in the know, he is the greatest who ever lived. He won the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia, each five times, in addition to being anointed world champion and collecting a multitude of other titles that would fill the Grand Place in Brussels.

Now there is a lesson for Jean-Mi, follow the example of Eddy Merckx; next time you reach a set of traffic lights, make sure you are first!