Sometimes luck runs with you. Sometimes, well it just seems to be laughing at you. It's been a tough road for Adrien Dailly since he broke his elbow mid-season in 2018. It's a nasty enough injury in the first place with a long recovery time - he injured it in June and not only was that the end of his season, but he was barely cleared to race when he took the start gate for round one of the EWS in Rotorua last year.
Coming into the season his plan was to ride himself into contention and, from the outside, riding to a fifth overall may seem like a fairytale, but the truth is he wasn't happy with it. The hope was that as he rode he would get back to 100%, but it soon became clear that the tendon in his elbow was still off, leaving him with his tricep at about 70%. Trauma and surgery had left it too short and every time he hit a big compression he was in agony. Come the end of the 2019 season he was back under the knife again to try and fix it. Again, it didn't quite take, but as the season approached he was weighing up the best strategy for surgery, whether to get it done and compromise his whole season, or tough it out again and get it done after.
As the COVID crisis started taking its toll on the racing season, it became clear that he was going to have some extra time, so he booked himself in for the surgery as quickly as possible. He was scheduled to be operated on 17 March. On 15 March France went into complete lockdown and all elective procedures were cancelled as hospitals braced themselves for the worst. In France the lockdown was one of the strictest in the Western world - sport was only allowed for an hour a day within a kilometre of your house and the legality of bike riding has been a touchy subject (the interior ministry announced that it was illegal, but later it was revealed that there was no base in law for this, but that's a story for another day). 50 days of polishing his bike and dreaming about riding it. As the end of lockdown came up on 11 May and the race season was delayed until, well, let's see... He grabbed the first surgery spot going, 13 May. That left him just two days to have as much fun as possible before facing another six weeks off the bike.
Southern France woke up to torrential rain on the 11th. The kind of rain that makes riding on the shifting rock and sand that typifies the region not only sketchy, but at risk of landslides, rockfalls and falling trees, cutting his time down to enjoy his bike to just 24 hours. So with just one day to ride your bike what do you do? You ride all of them, of course.