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Fisher-Black, back on track


When you suffer a major injury, fears are plenty. Will I recover 100 %? Will I go back to my old self? Will I regain the same confidence on the bike? These are just some of the questions that Finn Fisher-Black must have asked himself over the last few months, as last May, while racing stage 4 of the Boucles de la Mayenne in France, he suffered a major crash and broke his femur, which meant he had to stay away from racing for eight long months.

It was a bad blow for a rider who, up to that point, was unanimously considered one of the best prospects in cycling. In his native New Zealand, he had excelled on both road and track, convincing none other than Jumbo-Visma, which often spot potential stars before anyone else, to buy him a one-way ticket to Europe and add him to their talent pool. However, when it came to choosing the team with which to go pro, Fisher-Black opted for UAE Team Emirates, leaving the Dutch squad somewhat stunned. After all, choosing between the two strongest teams in the world is a luxury granted to few.

Thus, together with the Emirates team, he began a process of growth that, everyone hoped, would lead him to become one of the team’s key riders within a short time. “I would like to become a stage race rider, also exploiting my time trial qualities,” said Fisher-Black shortly before his injury. Then, as mentioned, bad luck came along, and Finn would not make it back on the road before 2023. Tour Down Under, Volta ao Algarve, Volta a Catalunya, and now Giro di Sicilia, with the hope of regaining those feelings and performances that were beginning to make him known.

“I felt very promising as an U23 and, at the beginning of 2022, I was growing further, but then the injury caused me to take such a big step backwards that I felt I had to start over again,” he told VeloNews at the beginning of the season. “My hope is to pick up where I left off and make 2023 a year to remember. The time lost has made me hungrier”.

And today, in Agrigento, the kid from New Zealand showed what he is made of. Fisher-Black took his first victory as a professional when, by his own admission, it was not even planned. But this is one of the advantages of racing in a big team like UAE; the Nelson native had already pulled several kilometres throughout the stage, then, in view of the last kilometre, he had to make a final effort to lead Diego Ulissi out. But the latter, thanks to his clever tactical sagacity and great experience, realised that his young teammate had the right leg to pull straight ahead. So, the Italian simply moved aside and Fisher-Black found himself with an interesting gap at 800 metres to go, while his rivals stared at each other bewildered by UAE’s move. Finn didn’t need to be told twice, and sprinted all the way to the finish, winning his first race among the “big boys” and putting his career back on the right track.

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