Ex-Tour champion Bernal 'conscious' after surgery for bus crash injuries
published : 26 Jan 2022 at 09:45
BOGOTA - Former Tour de France winner Egan Bernal was "conscious" a day after the Colombian cycling star underwent emergency surgery following a devastating collision with a bus outside Bogota, doctors said Tuesday.
"He is conscious, with mobility in all four limbs" and showing signs of "further progress in his post-operative development," said the Sabana University Clinic, where the cyclist was rushed by ambulance after smashing head-on into a bus.
Having undergone what doctors called "successful" surgery, the injured cyclist was extubated on Tuesday afternoon "without any complications" and has had "an excellent response to treatment," the clinic said in a statement.
Bernal's British team, Ineos Grenadiers, said he underwent two surgeries to "medically pin his right leg and stabilise the vertebrae fracture in two seperate surgeries last night."
In a message on social media, the squad added that the reigning Giro d'Italia champion also had "a punctured lung."
Despite his injuries, the team expressed confidence that Bernal was "on the road to recovery."
The 25-year-old winner of the 2019 Tour de France slammed at high speed into a bus that had stopped in the road while he was training with his teammates 30 kilometers (20 miles) outside the capital Bogota.
Traffic police Colonel Juan Castro said Bernal was "so focused" that he "did not notice the shouts" of warning from his companions.
Pictures shared on social media showed the cyclist lying on the ground surrounded by teammates, with the back of a bus with a huge dent in it also visible in some images.
Bernal's condition will be monitored "over the next 72 hours" in the clinic's intensive care unit.
"We are starting the process of rehabilitation immediately to achieve the best possible results with our patient," said the clinic.
- 'Cheer up champion' -
Noted climber Bernal is considered among the very best road racers in the world and is a hero in Colombia, where he had been training ahead of the new season.
Scheduled to race July's Tour de France as Ineos leader, the collision could derail Bernal's entire 2022 campaign.
He was due to begin his season on February 10 at the four-day Tour de La Provence.
Bernal became an instant star in 2019 when he upstaged British teammate and then champion Geraint Thomas to win the Tour -- cycling's most prestigious prize.
His 2020 season was hampered by a back injury and he failed to finish his Tour defense as Slovenia's Tadej Pogacar dazzled.
Pogacar posted a picture on Instagram of the two rivals racing each other with a message in Spanish, "Animo campeon!" or "Cheer up champion."
Last year, Bernal switched focus and won the Giro on his debut in the pink jersey race, before also finishing sixth at the Vuelta a Espana later in the year.
He recently signed a blockbuster contract extension with British team Ineos until 2026 and will return to the Tour in July.
The Tour begins in Copenhagen on July 1 and will finish with the traditional dash along the Champs-Elysees in Paris on July 24.