BOGOTA (AFP) – Former Tour de France winner Egan Bernal broke “nearly 20 bones” in a high-speed crash into the back of a stationary bus last week, the Colombian revealed on Thursday.
The 25-year-old, considered amongst the best road racers in the world, said he nearly died and that he was going through the “toughest race” of his young career.
“Yesterday I had the last major surgery and it seems as though everything went well,” said Bernal in an Instagram post alongside a picture of him in a hospital bed.
He also listed his broken bones, including 11 ribs, a knee cap, a thigh bone, two vertebrae and a thumb.
Bernal added that he lost a tooth and punctured both lungs in the January 24 accident when he ran into the back of a stationary bus while training on his time-trial bike with Ineos Grenadiers teammates near Bogota.
The Universidad de La Sabana clinic that treated Bernal said “excellent clinical results and stability of the cervical spine were achieved without complications during surgery”.
The clinic said Bernal left the establishment on Thursday following five surgeries in 10 days. “I almost died but… I am grateful for this test,” said Bernal.
Specialist climber Bernal is the star rider at Ineos Grenadiers and aged just 22 won the Tour de France in 2019. He is the reigning Giro d’Italia champion, and was in pre-season training for a fresh Tour de France tilt when he crashed in the Andean mountains near his home.