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Raisin continues to improve

American cyclist Saul Raisin appears to be making progress toward recovery after medical staff removed him from a ventilator allowing him to breathe on his own Raisin emerged from a coma on Wednesday after suffering the effects of a life-threatening crash in a race in western France. Raisin, one of the Crédit Agricole team's up and coming riders, was placed on the ventilator a week ago to take pressure off his body, and improve his chances of recovering from the hemorrhage he suffered Team manager Roger Legeay said that the signs are good and that friends and family are beginning to

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By AFP

Photo: PhotoSport International

American cyclist Saul Raisin appears to be making progress toward recovery after medical staff removed him from a ventilator allowing him to breathe on his own

Raisin emerged from a coma on Wednesday after suffering the effects of a life-threatening crash in a race in western France. Raisin, one of the Crédit Agricole team’s up and coming riders, was placed on the ventilator a week ago to take pressure off his body, and improve his chances of recovering from the hemorrhage he suffered

Team manager Roger Legeay said that the signs are good and that friends and family are beginning to feel relieved after a week of uncertainty and tension.

“The doctors have just taken him off the ventilator,” he told AFP. “They’re planning to remove Saul from intensive care in the next few days.”

Raisin was able to move his arms and legs, albeit tentatively, suggesting that the doctors’ initial fears of paralysis had passed. He was also responding to questions by nodding his head.

“It’s a huge relief, even though we’re at a very early stage. We still don’t know what the consequences of such a serious crash will be,” added Legeay.

Doctors will now wait to assess Raisin before taking the next step in his rehabilitation. The 23-year-old American crashed on stage one of the Circuit de la Sarthe race, which is held in western France, and was taken to hospital to be treated for head injuries.

Raisin had been conscious and talking to team officials since the crash but saw his condition worsen rapidly last Thursday before slipping into a coma.

A rising star in cycling renowned for his climbing skills, Raisin turned professional in 2003 and moved up to Crédit Agricole’s first team last year. It is not the first he has had a serious crash. In 2003 Raisin had a bad fall during the Trans Alsace race, while last year he was hit by a motorbike during the Four Days of Dunkirk, breaking his collarbone, some ribs and his hip.

Doctors expected him to be out of action for six weeks but he bounced back within that timeframe to not only return to training, but to actually compete in the Tour of Switzerland.

He finished a solid 37th there and then continued his recovery, going on to take ninth place overall in the Deutschland Tour and to scoop the King of the Mountains jersey in the Tour de l’Avenir.