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Motivation is critical to the professional sportsman. The sacrifices are great; the demands of competition unrelenting. Lose sight of the goal, begin to question the purpose in pursuing it, and desire ebbs away. A loss of perspective can be as debilitating as injury, and, as with physical complaint, a complete break is sometimes the only cure.

Australian rider Richard Lang found himself with more questions than answers as 2013 drew to a close, despite an impressive couple of seasons racing in the UK, firstly with Rapha Condor Sharp and latterly with Team Raleigh. Despite steady progression towards his ultimate goal of securing a berth within the Pro Continental or WorldTour ranks, Lang found himself his own harshest critic. His employers were happy with his performances; he wasn’t.

Professional cyclist Richard Lang, holding bicycleRichard Lang will resume his racing career with JLT Condor in 2015. pic: Angus Sung

“They [Raleigh] had a lot of racing in France, which suited me quite well, but for one reason or another, I was unable to make that next level. When you want something that badly, it’s almost like it works against you. I think the pressure that I put on myself was probably my downfall. I was overtraining and all that stuff - trying to be too lean, over-analysing everything, and then you lose the love for it. You lose perspective on what you’re trying to do.”

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