With the recent news that both Heinrich Haussler and Edvald Boasson Hagen have been scratched from the Tour of Flanders due to leg injuries, it must be wondered weather come of cycling's best young riders are being pushed beyond their physical limits.
Haussler, only 26 years old, had an amazing . . . and exhausting 2009. As he arrived into the 2010 season, rumblings almost immediately started regarding his balky knee. Then just this week, Haussler announced that he has a torn ligament near his knee and will miss both Flanders and Roubaix.
One other young rider who has been slowed by a leg injury is Saxo Bank's 24 year old stage racing star Andy Schleck. He is still recovering from his problems, but seems on track to regain his form in time for the meat of the hilly classics season and the grand tours. How long his body will hold up though is another question.
So, with professional riders riding further and further and pushing their bodies more than ever, should limits be set up to preserve their still developing bodies? Like in little league baseball, perhaps riders under 26 should only be able to log a certain number of race days, say 75. That way their bodies don;t become over taxed, leading to severe fatigue or injury.
Because they are adults making millions of Euros, it is unlikely that race day caps will ever be imposed on today's young riders. It will though be interesting to watch other youngsters like Mark Cavendish, Teejay van Garderen and others as they develop. Hopefully injuries won;t continue to affect these bright spots on the International cycling scene as they develop in the most difficult races against the best competition in the world.