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Max van Heeswijk admitted after his ENECO Tour victory in Mierlo yesterday that it was a very special success, not only because it was his first of the season and came very close to his home, but also for what he described to the media afterwards as "personal reasons".
"I have been through a terrible time," the Discovery Channel sprinter admitted. "And when the head is not right, then the legs don't work either. I have trained a lot this season without the results of last year, but now the wins will hopefully come."
The reason behind Van Heeswijk's recent travails was a split from his wife, Melanie, who left him to live with someone else last year and took their two children with her. The Dutch sprinter also met someone else, but that relationship fizzled out, leaving Van Heeswijk alone at home.
"I became mad, I wanted to bang my head against the walls," he admitted to La Dernire Heure. "At the start of this season things were going well, but they quickly fell apart. At Ghent-Wevelgem I couldn't go on mentally. After 25km I was crying on my bike and I abandoned."
However, helped by Discovery's management team of Johan Bruyneel and Dirk Demol, Van Heeswijk began to recover. "I owe them a lot, they have been tremendous, like all the team," said Van Heeswijk.
In May, things got even better when he was reconciled with Melanie. "That was the best victory of the season," he admitted. "When you are not good mentally you are nowhere. But once you have sorted that side out then the condition comes back in no time. Today, it's there. Now I want to finish the season strongly, thinking above all about the Worlds in Madrid."
- Two more French recruits for the Illes Balears soon to be Caisse d'Epargne team have been confirmed. Agritubel's Florent Brard has agreed to join the team he turned down when it was sponsored by Banesto in 2001, while VC Roubaix elite rider Mahtieu Perget makes the step to pro level with the Spanish team. Another Frenchman on the move is Cofidis' Jimmy Engoulvent, who is set to join Crdit Agricole. Cofidis are reported to have made an offer to Illes Balears' team leader Paco Mancebo.
The ongoing saga of Dario Pieri's season that has been documented monthly in procycling's Fab 4 column continues with the announcement that the Italian Classics specialist has agreed an immediate termination of his contract with Lampre-Caffita and will join the Italian continental team LPR. Pieri is expected to make his first appearance for LPR next week.
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