Egan Bernal could return to racing by the end of May, according to one of his doctors.
The Ineos Grenadiers rider suffered some serious injuries when he collided with the back of a bus at about 62kph (35.5mph) during a training ride in Colombia in January.
Bernal was left with about 20 broken bones, including in his spine, leg, ribs, and hand. He later commented that he “could have died” in the incident. Quick work by surgeons at the hospital where Bernal was treated not only saved his life but his mobility.
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Since the accident, Bernal has been able to start riding again and his doctors are now confident that his injuries have sufficiently healed that he could race from as soon as May 24.
“The first news that I can give you today is that we did the control tomographies of Egan’s spine and I want to tell you that the odontoid fracture is fully consolidated. He is cured,” Gustavo Urzia, a doctor who treated Bernal, told a medical conference according to Caracol Radio.
“All the rib fractures are healed, from day 120 of the accident, I think Egan can stand on the pedals again and will be able to compete again in shape. His coaches will give the go-ahead.”
Bernal’s coach Xabier Artexte has already hinted that Bernal could race in 2022, something that seemed impossible when examining his list of injuries. Artexte told Gazzetto dello Sport at the beginning of March that Bernal was hugely motivated to return.
While doctors have indicated Bernal would be free to race again in less than a month, no schedule has been set out. It would, of course, free him up to race at the Tour de France — which was on his program at the start of the season — but it remains to be seen where his form is, and putting him into a grand tour so quickly would be a huge risk.
As his training ramps up, Bernal is due to head to Europe with his father and do some motorpacing. The Colombian is champing at the bit to get back to the peloton and would like to do it as soon as possible.
“This weekend I hope to go for a spin. I get off the plane and the first thing I do is ride a bicycle. That’s the first thing I’m going to do,” he said.
“I am going to travel with my dad so that he can accompany me on the motorcycle. It all depends on Dr. Uriza, for me I would already be competing, I would not finish the races, but the fact of putting a number on the jersey would be very exciting.”