Van Avermaet has successful surgery on fractured ankle

Belgian confident he will be ready for 2017 season

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) has had a successful surgery on his ankle after fracturing it in a mountain bike crash last weekend. Van Avermaet underwent the operation on Tuesday morning in Antwerp after the team decided it was necessary to speed up the recovery time.

The team’s Chief Medical Officer, Max Testa explained that Van Avermaet had a small plate and screws inserted to stabilise the injury. He will need to wear a walking boot and but the team believes that he could be back on the bike in weeks.

"Greg will start working with the physical therapist right away so we expect that he will be able to pedal on a stationary bike in two weeks' time, and gradually increase the training load and start to use his road bike in four to six weeks,” explained Testa. “We will continue to monitor Greg's recovery progress and his condition and training program will be re-evaluated at BMC Racing Team's training camp in December in conjunction with the medical, training and management staff."

The accident happened while Van Avermaet was training on his mountain bike after an off-season break. The Belgian explained that he had put his foot on the ground as he slowed down when approaching some standing water.

"It was my first training ride after a few weeks off. I went into a corner, maybe a bit too fast and there was water on the ground and I didn't want to go straight into that, so I put my foot down, and this is what caused the fracture," said Van Avermaet.

"I feel fine. Of course it's better to not have an injury like this but I cannot change it, and it's better now than in January. I now have some extra weeks to recover before getting back on the bike in around four weeks, and then I'll still have a big block of training before the season starts so it should be fine."

Van Avermaet had been due to fire the starting pistol at the Gent Six Day, which starts on Tuesday evening, but the team confirmed that he will not be present.

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