A year ago, Torstein Træen won the climber’s competition at the Tour of the Alps, not knowing he was racing with cancer.
Incredibly, after an early diagnosis and treatment thanks to an anti-doping test spotting early indicators of the disease, he is back at the Austrian-Italian stage race with Uno-X and even went close to victory on stage 4 to Predazzo.
The 27-year-old Uno-X rider was part of the break of the day and was only beaten by Gregor Mühlberger (Movistar) in a three-rider sprint, with 19-year-old Italian Giulio Pellizzari (Green Project-Bardiani CSF) third.
It signified a remarkable recovery for Træen after an emotional and life-changing 12 months.
“I raced here last year with cancer and didn’t know it. It was special to be back,” Træen told WielerFlits beyond the finish line.
Træen discovered he had testicular cancer when anti-doping authorities contacted him on May 13 after the tumour marker Human Chorionic Gonadotropin was discovered in his sample.
Doctors found a 15mm tumour in a testicle, and it was removed, but an early diagnosis meant he did not need to undergo chemotherapy. In July, Træen was able to announce he was cancer free.
“I had 99 problems, and cancer is not one of them anymore,” Træen joked in an Instagram post.
“Jokes aside, it’s been a crazy few months, when I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Fortunately, the operation was successful, and I can finally enjoy life on the bike again. I feel truly blessed that Uno-X has supported me through this difficult time. Their support has been priceless. I can’t wait to go full throttle again soon.”
He returned to racing in late August and went on to finish third at the end of the season Le Tour de Langkawi.
Træen was ambitious and emotional on his return to the Tour of the Alps and wanted to leave a mark on the race.
“Mühlberger was just faster in the end. I couldn’t drop him on the climb either, so there was nothing more to do,” he said.
“I was hoping to do better in the GC, but it was quite a difficult year,” he said, understating what he had been through.