Egan Bernal has said that the injuries he sustained in a training crash left him with a “95% chance of becoming paraplegic”, in the cyclist’s first public statement since Monday’s accident in Colombia.
The two-time Grand Tour winner is making good progress according to a statement from Bogotá’s Clinica Universidad de La Sabana. Bernal remains in intensive care and is is due to undergo further surgery on Saturday after hitting a stationary bus at high speed while riding his time trial bike.
“Having had a 95% chance of becoming paraplegic and nearly losing my life doing what I love to do most, today I want to thank God, ClinicaUsabana, all the specialists for doing the impossible, my family, and all of you for your wishes,” Bernal wrote on Twitter. “I’m still in the ICU waiting for more surgeries, but trusting in God everything will be fine.”
Bernal suffered fractured vertebrae, broke his right femur, right patella and ribs, and also suffered chest trauma and a punctured lung in the incident. The hospital have reported that Bernal has “continued with the expected recovery and with a favourable trend,” with minor surgeries due on fractures to his hand and teeth.
“Egan continues with his rehabilitation plan, he has not shown signs of infection, he is also in good spirits and thanks to his improvement his vasopressor medication [to control low blood pressure] was withdrawn,” the hospital said in Friday’s update on the 25-year-old, who is now in a “good state of health”.
“Tomorrow he will have two surgeries, which are secondary procedures that are not life-threatening. The first is an osteosynthesis of a fracture to the second metacarpal of the right hand. The second is a maxill-facial [operation] to manage dentoalveolar fractures in his mouth.”
Bernal’s Ineos Grenadiers teammate, Brandon Rivera, is receiving treatment at the same hospital after suffering a fractured and dislocated elbow in a separate training crash on Thursday.
Bernal’s Ineos teammate Tom Pidcock, who broke his collarbone in a training accident last summer, has raised concerns about the “extreme” positions that riders are using on time trial bikes when training on open roads. “It’s terrible news, and it touched a nerve with me after my crash,” the British rider said earlier this week.
“A lot of accidents have happened on time trial bikes,” the British rider added. “The position [on the bike] is getting more and more extreme and we’re trying to hold a position where we don’t necessarily see where we’re going. It’s evident it’s getting more dangerous … we need to think about how we can train in a safer way.”