Soler takes first ride since Tour de Suisse accident

Colombian says he feels "happy" with progress after long rehabilitation

Nearly eight months after suffering severe head trauma and a fractured skull due to a crash in the Tour de Suisse, Mauricio Soler has made a major milestone in his recovery, by finally taking back to the bike.

According to reports from website Mundo Ciclistico, Soler took a short ride around his parent's house in the Colombian countryside not far from his own home in Ramiriqui, and looked generally comfortable. It's a significant moment for Soler, who struggled with simple cognitive functions such as breathing, swallowing and talking in the wake of the accident.

He has followed a strict rehabilitation regime since his return to Colombia in December, which has included a variety of physical and mental therapies. Though with still a significant amount of work ahead of him the former Tour de France King of the Mountains said that he was "really happy just to have been able to ride a bike again".

"It was one of my big goals, alongside seeing my son again," said Soler. "Cycling is something I really love. Mentally I feel better than ever, and I'm improving further day by day."

Soler, 28, was placed in an induced coma shortly after the Tour de Suisse accident, with doctor's initially unsure whether he was going to live. He underwent surgery in hospital in St. Gallen, Switerzerland, where he began basic rehabilitation, before he was moved to a private hospital in Spain in July.

The Colombian told the assembled media upon his return to Colombia that he was unsure whether he would ever ride professionally again, citing the importance of recovery the most critical thing above all else.

"We will we see what will come after that."

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