Jessop on track after broken back

Durban – Victory at the Subaru Jowetts MTB Classic this past weekend was far more than just another race win for young mountain biking talent Julian Jessop as the 18 year-old’s feat signalled his successful overcoming of 8 July 2014’s life defining incident which left him with a broken back.

Following his selection for the national marathon team the Concept Cyclery powered by Burry Stander rider was selected for the Elite Athlete Development Programme (EADP) that is backed by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Sport and Recreation and despite being unable to train or ride for a number of months due his accident, the talented youngster was determined to get back to full fitness and is grateful for the role the EADP and Prime Human Performance Institute has played in this process.

“For three months after my accident I was unable to do any sort of training,” Jessop mentioned. “As soon as I was able to get back on my bike and into rehab I worked hard at Prime and they were great in getting me back to where I am!”

“It was a pretty big mental knock that I took but the EADP supported me hugely with a sports psychologist, amongst other medical professionals, and I am really appreciative of that!” he added.

Jessop, an under-18 competitor, won the elite men’s category at the weekend’s clash in Hilton and is understandably pleased with how his first competitive hit-out of 2015 unfolded as well as with almost being back to full fitness.

“This weekend’s race was the first race of the season so you are never quite sure if what you have been doing in the offseason has been correct but after I won I realised that my training and preparation has paid off and that is a huge testament to the EADP and the people that are behind me,” the Junior SA Marathon Champion said.

“I have been working with a dietician at Prime for a while now which has helped keep me in good shape and I’m working quite hard on my strength in the gym at Prime at the moment too while the massage facilities have also helped me recover quicker than I used to.

“I’m about 99% there at the moment. I still feel a little bit of pain when I am riding but I think that I am physically stronger than I was and the more time I spend on the bike then I’ll definitely get to a point where I am better off than I was before the accident.

The weekend’s action came down to a dramatic end sprint between Jessop and Tyronne White however with the finish line in sight, the youngster managed to pull away from his more experienced rival to claim a deserved and long-awaited victory.

“It was quite a tough end sprint over the final 500 metres but I managed to get ahead and stay ahead which was a real positive for me.

“Just riding down the finish straight with the finish line in front of me knowing that I had won was such an awesome feeling and from there I knew that I was back!” an elated Jessop explained.

President of KwaZulu-Natal Cycling Greg Stedman was quick to point out the importance of the EADP in getting Jessop back to full fitness but was also impressed with the strides that the young rider has made.

“We are really chuffed with the support that Prime and the EADP have shown in Julian’s rehabilitation and his family has also seen the impact that Prime has had on getting him back to full fitness.

“Along with the hard work Julian has put in, the EADP has provided him with facilities and support that are one-of-a-kind in South Africa,” an impressed Stedman concluded.

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