Road

Bellis to leave hospital, hopes for comeback

Johnny Bellis, the British rider who nearly died in a motor scooter accident last fall, will be released from a London hospital this weekend and return to his home on the Isle of Man.

Johnny Bellis, the British rider who nearly died in a motor scooter accident last fall, will be released from a London hospital this weekend and return to his home on the Isle of Man.

The Saxo Bank riderwas seriously injured in a late-night accident involving a scooter near Great Britain’s training facility in Quarrata, Italy, on September 19 last year. Bellis suffered massive head injuries and Italian doctors operated and placed him in a medically induced coma for four weeks in an effort to stabilize his condition.

By the time Bellis was transferred to hospital in London, his weight had dropped from 70 to 46 kilograms.

According to a story posted on the Saxo Bank team web page, Bellis, 21, has since shown remarkable progress and was moved into a new facility, the Wellington Hospital, to begin intensive rehabilitation work.

Bellis won a bronze medal in the U-23 world championships in 2007 and represented Great Britain in the 2008 Olympic Games in the men’s road race. A solid track rider, Bellis joined Saxo Bank in 2009.

“Johnny has been working extremely hard with all disciplines of his rehabilitation program here at the Wellington Hospital. He is approaching all the tasks set before him with determination and motivation. His strength and endurance is improving out of sight on a weekly basis,” said Katie Davies, senior physiotherapist at the Wellington Hospital. “He has been attending strength sessions in the gym, cooking in the kitchen, clocking miles on the exercise bike and going out in the community. The team treating him could not be happier with his progress at this stage of his recovery.”

Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis recently went to visit Bellis and his family. The pair quickly talked about the possibility of a comeback for Bellis.

“I went to see Johnny on a personal level, as a young man that I care about, not as a cyclist. We all went for a walk and stopped by a café to have a coffee. But you know, once we sat down, we ended up speaking about nutrition, weight gain and training all afternoon anyway. There was just no way around it. Johnny wants to come back and we are motivated to help him,” Riis said. “But he has no pressure from our side, only backing and support.”

Bellis plans to spend a couple of months on the Isle of Man to continue his recovery and to train to build his body back to full strength.

The resort hotel Playitas, a co-sponsor of the Saxo Bank squad, has invited Bellis and his family to Fuerteventura to stay for a week where he can train in their facilities and on the roads and hopefully enjoy some sunshine, while escaping the cold winter weather.