Five months after suffering several serious fractures to his spine after being hit by a car while training, Czech rider Petr Vakoc has finally been cleared to ride his bike outside. The Quick-Step Floors rider posted an emotional video on Twitter detailing his rehabilitation, and getting back outside was his biggest victory
"This was the day I was looking forward to since my accident," Vakoc said. "After a few months of intense rehabilitation, I'm back on the bike, back riding outside, enjoying what I love."
Vakoc was in South Africa for a pre-season training camp at altitude in a rural area when a driver passed too close and clipped Vakoc, sending him crashing to the tarmac. Teammate Laurens De Plus also crashed, suffering a fractured pelvis and sacrum, while Bob Jungels, who was also with them, avoided falling.
The injured riders were treated in Nelspruit, where Vakoc underwent surgery to stablise his spine before being transported back to Prague for rehabilitation. He has spent the last four months working with his personal trainer and riding his bike - at first prone with a bicycle rigged up on the wall and later on the stationary trainer.
De Plus returned to racing in May, finishing the Amgen Tour of California in eighth place overall. Jungels was emotionally wrought after the crash and issued a plea for drivers to be more careful. He went on to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege.