Egan Bernal admits he is ‘happy to be alive’ after a life-changing terrible training crash which resulted in several fractures and spinal surgery.
The 25-year-old is targeting an eventual return to the sport, but has a lengthy road of rehabilitation ahead.
"I actually received an important lesson from this accident, so absurdly I'm actually thankful for having lived through this experience," he said, in quotes published by cyclingnews.com.
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"I'm happy to be alive and little by little I'm starting to feel like a cyclist again. I want to say thanks to all the people who wrote to me and sent me positive energy, they really helped me.
“Having the energy and support of an entire country, of so many people in cycling from around the world and especially of my loved ones, has allowed me to move forward and contradict the first terrible diagnoses of the doctors."
Bernal’s recovery is all the more remarkable given that doctors previously said there was a 95 per cent chance of paraplegia, meaning his racing career would have been ended.
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However, all 20 of his fractures have now healed which is allowing him to ride again. This has given the Ineos Grenadiers rider a much more optimistic outlook for the future.
"The accident allowed me to see things from a different perspective. Before, I was only focused on cycling and being the best rider in the world. But the real priority in life is to feel good and be able to be with those who love us," he added.
"When you are attached to a ventilator you feel fragile and vulnerable, only then do you really value what you previously underestimated or took for granted.
"Now I send my strength to those who are suffering. We must have patience and give the right consideration to what happens to us in life. Being forced to miss races can be traumatic, but it is more important to still be in this world, surrounded by the affection of family and friends. Sometimes we forget what really matters."
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The Colombian refused to give a definitive date on his return to racing, and highlighted the importance of not rushing his recovery.
"I don't know what the recovery time will be. I don't want to rush or set a date for my return, it wouldn't be ideal given everything that has happened.
"Clearly I hope to recover as soon as possible but I have to listen to my body. Ineos Grenadiers are helping me and will give me all the time I need, that's reassuring for me. Before thinking about getting back to winning, I have to get back to full health and finish a race. That would already be an important success."
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