Bakelants 1cm shorter after Il Lombardia crash

Vertebral fractures cause Belgian to adjust his position on the bike

Jan Bakelants has revealed that he is one centimetre shorter in height as a result of his dramatic crash at last year's Il Lombardia

The Belgian broke four vertebrae, along with seven ribs, when he flipped over the roadside barrier and into a ravine on the descent of the Muro di Sormano in the late-season Classic in October. 

The nature of the injuries placed question marks over Bakelants' future as a professional cyclist, but surgery and the subsequent rehabilitation have gone as well as could have been hoped, and he has been able to go out on his bike since the turn of the year. 

With plans now in place to make his racing comeback this spring, Bakelants paid a visit to Energy Lab in Belgium for a bike fitting on Wednesday, and discovered the unexpected side effect. 

"Since my crash I felt my old position wasn’t doing the trick any longer. As it turned out I got 1cm shorter due to the multiple fractures," Bakelants wrote on his social media. 

If all goes to plan, Bakelants will make his return to racing at the Volta a Catalunya in late March. At that point he would likely still have titanium rods in his back, which are due to be removed in April, but he is keen to come back as soon as possible in the hope of earning a place in AG2R La Mondiale's squad for the Tour de France in July. 

"I'm trying to see it as interesting, or as a new start," Bakelants said of his lay-off earlier this month.

"I will have been out for six months, which is not noticed in the winter, but how many riders get the chance in their career to start from scratch again? That's how I want to see it - as a challenge to find myself again."

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