By Ian Parker, PA
Two-time Grand Tour winner Egan Bernal remains in intensive care after undergoing spinal surgery following a serious crash suffered while training in his native Colombia.
The 2019 Tour de France champion underwent two rounds of surgery following the accident, with doctors working to repair fractures in his right leg and kneecap as well as a collapsed lung before carrying out a further operation to repair dislocated fractures in his spine.
A statement from the Ineos Grenadiers read: “Following yesterday’s training accident, Egan remains in a stable condition in intensive care after two successful surgeries.
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) January 25, 2022
“Egan suffered a fractured vertebrae, a fractured right femur, a fractured right patella, chest trauma, a punctured lung and several fractured ribs in the crash.
“Doctors were able to medically pin his right leg and stabilise the vertebrae fracture in two separate surgeries last night. He is now in an intensive care unit where other potential secondary injuries are being managed, as well as his body’s response to the trauma.”
Reports in Colombia indicate that Bernal struck a parked bus while on a training ride with team-mates close to his home in Bogota, with images circulating online of the 25-year-old receiving treatment next to a heavily dented vehicle.
Bernal, who took his second Grand Tour win with victory in the Giro d’Italia last season, was said to be conscious when he was transferred to the Clinica Universidad de La Sabana by team medical staff.
A statement from the hospital said the operation on Bernal’s spine “kept intact the neurological integrity and conserved the functionality of the segments involved”.
La Clínica Universidad de La Sabana se permite informar sobre el estado de salud de Egan Bernal. Estaremos muy atentos a informarles sobre su evolución. pic.twitter.com/uYyzdBIhol
— Clínica Unisabana (@ClinicaUsabana) January 25, 2022
“We will wait for his progress over the next 72 hours in the Intensive Care Unit to see the response to the course of treatment established for this high-energy trauma,” the statement added.
“We have immediately begun the rehabilitation process to achieve the best possible results with our patient.”
While the majority of the Grenadiers squad trains in Europe, Bernal had remained in Colombia to prepare for the upcoming season, riding alongside a small group of team-mates that includes former Giro champion Richard Carapaz.
Bernal signed a new five-year contract with the Grenadiers earlier this month, and had set out his ambitions to target the Tour again this summer.
My thoughts are with Egan and his family today ❤️ pic.twitter.com/cbJ0YeJzfq
— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) January 25, 2022
Several riders and teams were quick to post messages of support to Bernal on social media.
Bernal’s team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart, the 2020 Giro winner, wrote: “We are all hoping you are ok @Eganbernal. So scary to read this news. A sad reminder how dangerous our training can be.”
Four-time Tour winner Chris Froome, who broke his neck, femur, elbow, hips and ribs in a training crash in 2019 and is yet to recapture anything resembling his previous form, also posted a message on Twitter to his former team-mate.
“My thoughts are with Egan and his family today,” Froome wrote.