Former Tour de France champion Egan Bernal collided with a bus parked on the shoulder of a road outside Bogota while training with his team Ineous Grenadier.
He fractured his right femur, right kneecap, several ribs and a vertebrae and suffered a punctured lung and chest trauma. Bernal was transferred to the University of La Sabana Hospital near the capital. He is currently in intensive care in Colombia having successfully undergone two surgeries.
Camilo Pardo, a sports doctor in Bogota, said cyclists usually take around eight months to recover from a fractured femur, while a kneecap injury like the one sustained by Bernal could take even longer to heal.
“I doubt he will be able to compete this year, not even in the Vuelta a España in September,” said Pardo, who has been treating cyclists for three decades.
Police said Bernal hit the back of a bus that had pulled over to drop off a passenger and was parked on the emergency lane.
Col. Juan Carlos Castro, deputy director for Colombia’s transport police, said Bernal had split from the rest of his teammates as he trained for a time trial, and was hunched over his bike in an aerodynamic position, which prevented him from seeing the bus that had pulled over ahead of him. He said Bernal was traveling at around 50 kilometers per hour (31 miles per hour) when the crash occurred. Bus stops are rare along rural roads in Colombia and it is legal for buses to use emergency lanes to pick up passengers.
The accident highlights the challenges faced by cyclists of all levels in Colombia, where potholes are common and lanes for cyclists are limited. Last year more than 470 cyclists died in traffic accidents in the South American country.
– Meriqua Whyte