Five weeks after iliac artery surgery Marianne Vos is back to riding on the road in short bursts but has indicated it is unlikely she will return to racing in time for this cyclocross season. The eight-time world champion in the discipline will instead place her focus on rebuilding her base after her forced rest from the bike.
The Jumbo-Visma rider has had ongoing artery issues in recent year, with the latest surgery to address the flow restriction taking place in August after a worsening of the pain and lack of power in her left leg.
“During the first 5 weeks of rehabilitation I was not allowed to do physical activity,” said Vos in an Instagram post. “Since this week I am back on the bike for a 1-hour ride every other day and this may gradually increase in time & intensity over the upcoming 3 weeks towards every day 2 hours in the 8th week.
“Although I definitely made the best of my time off the bike, I look forward and feel curious to get back in training.”
When Vos ended her 2023 road season early to undergo the surgery the rider said she had been struggling with pain and a lack of power in her left leg for a long period of time but this year the symptoms had became worse and harder to overcome. She is one of many riders who have turned to iliac artery surgery, with Pauline Ferrand-Prevot, Annemiek van Vleuten and Amanda Spratt among the list of those that have returned from difficult periods after undergoing the procedure.
This road season Vos, who is signed with Jumbo-Visma through till the end of 2025, delivered two Women’s WorldTour wins on stages of La Vuelta Femenina as well as podium placings at the Tour de France Femmes and Giro d’Italia Donne. That may be a strong season by most standards but it is one of the very worst the Dutch rider with an incomparable palmares has ever had. In 18 seasons the only one with a lower win tally was the injury and fatigue plagued year of 2015 when she only raced on the road twice.
Vos last week sat down with her new coach Rutger Tijssen, the Jumbo-Visma women’s team manager, to make a plan for her return to racing in 2024. No details were given on the likely date for resuming competition but it looks unlikely that the 36-year-old will race cyclocross this season, which means she will miss the Cyclocross World Championships for a second year running.
“The first and main focus will be building a solid base, which means no CX races planned,” said Vos.