Jurgen Van Den Broeck will be leaving the hospital of Herentals, Belgium, on Thursday afternoon following several days of treatment for injuries sustained when crashing out of the Tour de France on stage nine. The Belgian GC favourite suffered a collapsed lung, two broken ribs and a broken shoulder blade, but he is now hoping to participate in the Vuelta a España starting in late August.
Van Den Broeck received the press in hospital on Wednesday and had good news to announce. "Considering the circumstances, I am doing well," the Omega Pharma-Lotto rider told Sporza. "My two broken ribs have not been misplaced, which is why the lung was not punctured. Fortunately, I got off the bike rapidly, otherwise I would have been out for months."
The Belgian had initially tried to continue the race after his fall, but abandoned soon enough. "My shoulder blade fractured neatly, too. The pain is bearable. I still have to rest completely for another week, and then I'll take a new lung scan."
If this scan reveals that VDB's lung is recovering well from its collapse, then the rider may well start the Vuelta later this summer. Doctor Toon Claes told the press that he had to wait before putting new pressure on the lung because of a risk of it collapsing again. "But the scans of today compared to the first ones already show improvement," Claes told Het Nieuwsblad.
"I sure hope to take part in Spain, even if it just to build up my condition again," Van Den Broeck said. "But my lung has to heal naturally, I can't force it to."
In any case, Van Den Broeck's morale was much better as he is trying to put his bad luck behind him. "I will be back at the 2012 Tour de France with the same ambitions, perhaps even greater," he added before recalling this year's race.
"I surely would have made the podium in Paris. On the evening before my fall I sent my coach a message telling him the podium was doable. I knew how I felt and I saw my rivals at work, too."