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Injured Juan Mauricio Soler continues to improve

SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland, (AFP) – Juan Mauricio Soler remained in an artificial coma but showed further positive signs of improvement, doctors said Saturday, following the cyclist’s crash on the Tour de Suisse midweek. Soler crashed on the race’s sixth stage Thursday, suffering a fractured skull, swelling in the brain and a…

SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland, (AFP) – Juan Mauricio Soler remained in an artificial coma but showed further positive signs of improvement, doctors said Saturday, following the cyclist’s crash on the Tour de Suisse midweek.

Soler crashed on the race’s sixth stage Thursday, suffering a fractured skull, swelling in the brain and a broken ankle.

He has since been in an induced coma, but after showing “slight signs of improvement” Friday, doctors said Saturday swelling in the brain appeared to be coming down.

“The health status of Juan Mauricio Soler has further stabilized and there are no signs for an intracranial pressure which is considered by the doctors as a positive sign,” official race doctor Roland Kretsch said after consulting with hospital doctors in Saint Gallen. “The medication was able to be reduced. The patient is still in an artificial coma.”

Soler had been hoping to use the race to help him win a place on Movistar’s team for the Tour de France, on which he won a stage and the ‘King of the Mountains’ polka dot jersey in 2007.

At the start of Thursday’s stage Soler had been second in the overall standings 54secs behind race leader Damiano Cunego.

The accident is a further blow for Movistar, which is still reeling from the death of Spanish cyclist Xavier Tondo who was killed in a freak accident last month when he was crushed between his car and a garage door at a ski resort in southern Spain. Belgian Wouter Weylandt (Leopard-Trek) also died from injuries sustained in a crash at the Giro d’Italia last month.