Australian cyclist Amanda Spratt a shock entry for Santos race after recovering from major surgery

Australian cycling star Amanda Spratt will return to a surprise race in Adelaide this month as she recovers from major surgery.

Sprat entered the Santos Cycling Festival, the local alternative to the “Down Under” international tour.

In October, the 34-year-old underwent surgery in the Netherlands to repair the endometrial iliac artery, a rare condition that has affected many top cyclists.

The condition, which spoiled her campaign in the Tokyo Olympics, restricted blood flow to her leg muscles during training and racing.

Sprat will have to wait five or six months before she returns to peak condition, but her rehabilitation has gone smoothly.

She spoke with Dutch star and former co-star Animek van Vleuten, who has successfully returned from the same operation.

“Obviously I wouldn’t raise my hand and say I want to race unless I’m ready to do it,” she said.

“It’s just an opportunity to break up training and rehabilitation.”

Spratt has won Tour Dawn in less than three times, but her January 23-26 race in Adelaide will be more of a high-intensity workout than follow-up results.

Amanda Spratt helped win the Women’s Tour in Down Under from 2017 to 2019, but says the next race is more about getting her way back into shape than winning cups.(Getty Images / Daniel Kalish)

“Everyone knows I’m a racer and I love being with the team,” said the BikeExchange-Jayco star.

“It’s just a chance to get my leg back a little bit. We will still take a cautious approach into the European season.”

But her return is also a sure sign that the surgery and rehabilitation went smoothly.

Spratt is enjoying the reaction of people who didn’t expect to race her back until the start of the European season.

“It was fun – in fact, I got a message from some people and they say they heard I’m doing road racers on Sunday,” she said.

“I assured them that I am definitely not ready for the Bunnyong Mountain tours.

“I’ll watch you rest on my couch while everyone else suffers.”

Immediately after the operation, Spratt had a nine-week period in which she was unable to raise her heart rate above 100.

She said the only setback she’s experienced has been in her hamstrings in the past month.

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“I’m really happy – I have to say, everything has been very smooth, rehab,” Spratt said.

“It was a lesson in being patient and I also realized that it was a time when I shouldn’t be too stubborn.

“It’s not always what I like. I’m so eager to push myself…I’m sure I’ve been driving people crazy in the past couple of weeks when I’ve felt really good”

Sprat added that she has a strong support team around her.

“This was a very dangerous operation – it opened in four places,” she said.

“They were replacing an artery with a vein from the leg. There are obviously risks involved with that as well.

“From the day I was in the hospital, all the way through, I’ve had this support network, which has helped me stay calm and look forward.”

AAP

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