Dutch national team doctor assists concussion-plagued Van der Hoorn: "Time flies..." Cycling

Dutch national team doctor assists concussion-plagued Van der Hoorn: "Time flies..."

Dutch national team doctor assists concussion-plagued Van der Hoorn: "Time flies..."

April 2, 2023. That was the day we last saw Taco van der Hoorn in racing action. The Dutch Intermarché-Wanty cyclist suffered a concussion in a heavy crash during the Tour of Flanders, which will also keep him sidelined in the early months of 2024. Performance Manager Aike Visbeek spoke to IDLProCycling.com on the Belgian team's press day.

Visbeek emphasizes that a concussion is not just any injury. "The doctors say it will be fine, but it's difficult to assess these things. You can resolve something like a concussion in a few months time, but this time, it just takes longer. Currently, Taco is slowly getting back on the bike," Visbeek says about Van der Hoorn, who was present at the team presentation on Friday and also posed in the team uniform with his teammates. A few years ago, back in 2017 and 2018, the Dutch cyclist was also sidelined for a long time due to a concussion, but this time it seems to be taking even longer.

"He can ride for two or three days in a row, but the intensity is still lacking at the moment. We have the number one specialist guiding him, Edwin Goedhart. He is the same person responsible for dealing with concussions at the KNVB (Dutch Football Association, ed.) and he is also in charge of writing the protocols there," Visbeek states, referring to the individual who is also the team doctor for the Dutch national football team.

"Is the recovery from a concussion a trial-and-error process? You could say that, yes. After a setback, you realize that you need to take a step back, and perhaps we were too ambitious in the beginning, pushing the boundaries too much," says the Dutch staff member of Intermarché-Wanty.

Dutch national team doctor assists concussion-plagued Van der Hoorn: "Time flies..."

Visbeek misses Van der Hoorn, both on the bike and in the team bus

"The conclusion is that we will need a few more months," Visbeek acknowledges. "At the moment, we haven't scheduled any races for Taco until mid-March, but on the other hand, we also know that he's a special case. When he's healthy again, he can train himself back to a very high level in four or five weeks. But to say what's realistic right now, I find that difficult. Maybe April?" he questions aloud. That would mean Van der Hoorn would have been out for one year. "Time flies," Visbeek remarks.

Visbeek misses his protege, both on and off the racecourse. "We shouldn't underestimate the impact of Taco's absence. In terms of personnel, he's a rider who has won a stage in the Giro, has his name on the Brussels Cycling Classic, won the Omloop van het Houtland, and came very close to winning a Tour de France stage. Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, Paris-Roubaix... He was always in the finale, always on the attack."

"And Taco is also a very important person on the team bus. That's something you miss. Last year, with the spring team, we had a lot of setbacks, and in moments like that, you miss someone like Adrien Petit or Taco, the guys who keep the team together in difficult times. When they are also absent, things become tough for the team."

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