Egan Bernal: Colombian cycling star ‘conscious’ following bus collision

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Colombia's Egan Bernal after completing the 17th stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race, from Canazei to Sega Di Ala, Italy, May 26, 2021.

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Former Tour de France winner Egan Bernal has regained consciousness after undergoing emergency surgery following a collision with a bus outside Bogota, doctors have said.

“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 Colombian cycling star was rushed by ambulance after smashing head-on into a bus on Monday.

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 separate 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 kilometres 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’

Considered among the very best road racers in the world, Bernal 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 defence 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.

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