THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Monique van der Vorst has completed a remarkable transformation -- from Paralympic athlete to road racing cyclist with a top professional team.
The 27-year-old Dutch rider signed with the Rabobank women's team, meaning the former wheelchair and handcycle racer will now line up against elite able-bodied cyclists.
"My development has been very quick. I never could have imagined one year ago I would be here," Van der Vorst told The Associated Press. "All the training I did in the last 10 years gives me a good base."
Van der Vorst lost the use of her legs as a young teenager following ankle surgery. But she didn't lose her drive and determination. She won two silver medals in the handcycling road race and time trial at the Beijing Paralympics.
Last year, after a crash during training, she began getting the feeling back in her legs and eventually managed to walk again.