Egan Bernal hit a parked bus during a training session in Colombia on Monday. The exact condition of the INEOS Grenadiers rider was at first unclear, police said he only suffered minor injuries. We now know he suffered a fractured vertebrae, a fractured right femur, a fractured right patella, chest trauma, a punctured lung and several fractured ribs in the crash.
Bernal, 25, was training near Gachancipá, a town in the Colombian department of Cundinamarca, when he collided with a bus. Bernal was training with some INEOS Grenadiers teammates on his time trial bike but, according to the Spanish-language newspaper El Periódico, noticed too late that a bus stopped in front of him to let a passenger get off. Photos show the 2019 Tour winner lying on the ground and receiving care. It was at first unclear how bad the damage to Bernal, but according to several Colombian news sites, including Mundo Ciclístico, the tour rider was not seriously injured. INEOS Grenadiers has since said that Bernal was conscious when he was taken to hospital.
In hospital Bernal was treated for his injuries. He was conscious when he was taken to the Clínica Universidad de la Sabana in Bogotá, but there were already fears for multiple fractures. The doctors announced in a press statement that Bernal has suffered multiple traumas. The chest area is badly affected, as are many muscles, his neck and lower leg, with the posibility of a broken knee cap. The two-time Grand Tour winner had another hour-long surgery later on Monday. After surgery, Bernal will begin a lengthy rehabilitation process, but it looks like Bernal will be out for a long time.
Egan Bernal’s first surgeries after his collision have been successful. The Clínica Universidad de La Sabana, the hospital where the Colombian rider has been treated, announced in a press release:
“The neurological operation performed on Egan Bernal was successful. We expect progressive development over the next 72 hours in the Intensive Care Unit and we hope he will respond to the treatment he has received.” The back of the winner of two Grand Tours was stabilised and his nervous system was unaffected. According to the hospital, the “functionality of the treated body parts has been preserved” and the rehabilitation process has already started “to achieve the best possible results for the patient”.
Update on Egan Bernal from the INEOS Grenadiers Team:
Following Monday’s training accident, Egan remains in a stable condition in intensive care after two successful surgeries.
Egan suffered a fractured vertebrae, a fractured right femur, a fractured right patella, chest trauma, a punctured lung and several fractured ribs in the crash. Doctors were able to medically pin his right leg and stabilise the vertebrae fracture in two separate surgeries last night. He is now in an intensive care unit where other potential secondary injuries are being managed, as well as his body’s response to the trauma.
The Team would like to thank the medical staff at Clinica Universidad de La Sabana and everyone who has sent messages of support to Egan. All of our focus is on ensuring Egan is given the best possible care as he starts on his road to recovery.
Bernal’s Manager: “Egan is mentally strong, he will fight back”
Giuseppe Acquadro, the well-known cycling manager and representative of Bernal, is optimistic about his future as a professional cyclist.
Acquadro has known Bernal for a very long time and expects the Colombian climber to make his comeback to the peloton sooner or later. “I understand that it all went well and that he is now in the Intensive Care Unit. He is in good hands, the hospital in Bogotá is very professional and good. There are several people from INEOS Grenadiers who keep him company and his family is also present.”
“Obviously it’s a huge blow. Egan was really looking forward to the new season and was already focused on the Tour de France. He was looking forward to dueling Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič, but that won’t happen for a while. But knowing Egan, he will soon find the motivation to fight back and recover. We will help him with that. Egan is mentally strong and will fight back. If he can focus on a certain goal, he is really unbelievably strong.”
It is a new setback for Bernal in his young career, after he previously suffered from persistent back problems. Meanwhile, the cycling world sympathises with the two-time Grand Tour winner. Teammates, fellow riders, former pros, sports directors, race organisers have all sent messages of support to the climber.
“Egan is a good boy and people see that. He also does a lot to help other people, including behind the scenes. He respects his rivals and vice versa. Every cyclist knows the dangers of training on the road and fellow cyclists feel the pain of such an accident. I’m sure it will help, those many messages of support,” concluded Acquadro.
Bernal should have started his 2022 season in the Tour de La Provence on February 10.
*** More updates in EUROTRASH on Thursday. ***
Possibly career ending injuries for Egan Bernal: