Successful surgery for Ion Izagirre

Bahrain-Merida rider heads home from Düsseldorf after Tour de France crash

Eight days after crashing out of the Tour de France with a lumbar fracture, Ion Izagirre has successfully undergone surgery in Düsseldorf and will fly home to Spain.

"I feel OK, as you can see from the video that I posted on social media. All had gone well. The surgery was perfect and I'm improving day by day. I would like to express my gratitude to the Hospital of Düsseldorf and all its staff and doctors," Izagirre said in a team release. "They are great professionals and I'm very satisfied with them. I hope that I can recover step by step and we will see when I'll be able to come back to the roads. I'm not stressed about that. We will see day by day. Thanks everyone for your support, for all the messages. See you soon on the roads."

Izagirre, the Bahrain-Merida leader for the Tour de France, crashed on the wet opening stage of the race in the same location Alejandro Valverde also feels and fractured his kneecap.

The team physiotherapist Ibai Jimenez Clever remained with Izagirre in the Düsseldorf hospital to keep the 28-year-old company. He added that Izagirre has responded well to the surgery and assist him in his recovery.

"First moments after Ion's crash in the opening stage of the Tour de France were very difficult. The first news we received was not good. It seemed that he immediately had to go through a surgery and was alone at the hospital. I was worried," Clever said. "Finally, I received some better news and I could breathe a little easier when the doctors after surgery told us that it was successful. Ion responded to the surgery very well and he feels better day after day. He's recovering slowly and now that he's coming back home it will be even better. He's in good mood and we hope that he will have a good recovery without forcing. I'm sure that slowly he can return to his level. I personally would like to thank everyone for their support."

With its GC rider out of the race, Bahrain-Merida team manager Brent Copeland explained to Cyclingnews that his squad 'must recalibrate'.

"The GC is out of our hands now so we've got to be realistic. A stage win is what we'll work towards," Copeland said. "We start all over again, apart from these first few stages, which were all for Sonny Colbrelli, in any case, and then stage hunting and try to show off the jersey as much as we can and put as much spectacle into the Tour as we can without having a GC rider."

Ion #Izagirre is leaving Düsseldorf Clinic for home today. We're happy to share with you his words. Check out!
pic.twitter.com/arR2IiVfFg

— Team Bahrain Merida (@Bahrain_Merida) July 8, 2017

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