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Cycling: Emma Silversides’ last European women’s professional tour
A SERIOUS spinal injury wrecked Cawood cycling ace Emma Silversides’ first season as a team leader.
But the battling former mathematics teacher will still be in the saddle after she showed enough for her Belgium-based team to offer her a new contract for next year’s European women’s professional tour.
And for all her injury problems this summer, the 32-year-old is determined to have one more crack among the cream of the Continent’s finest riders.
As she continues her recuperation from her injury, Silversides said: “I feel that I still have another season in me.
“Even with these problems I could take a very satisfying win in the second half of the season from which I naturally took huge encouragement.”
Appearing for the Sengers team, which she joined as the main rider at the start of this year following several seasons in Europe as a support rider for a range of outfits, Silversides produced a series of superb early season displays for the team’s sprinting specialist.
But problems with her back flared in July. Having to undergo manipulation every ten days or so, the increasing pain forced her to have a scan which revealed a herniated disc in her lower back.
A cortisone injection was given but the prescribed ideal treatment was a prolonged rest which curtailed her season.
However, undeterred, Silversides returned to team action to win the gruelling Kontich race, which comprises particularly dangerous conditions with riders faced by car traffic even amid the peloton.
That success convinced the Sengers team bosses to offer her a contract for 2012 and reinforced her determination to give it another year.
She added: “The team has stuck by me and that’s really nice. My injury naturally cut my season short but I am positive about building up for one last year.”
She is currently staying in Belgium to do some promotional work for her other talent of painting for which she has an exhibition at a famous cycling museum – the Ronde van Vlaanderen Centre – in Oudenaarde.