Darwin Atapuma (BMC) had returned to his native Colombia as he continues his recovery from a broken leg. Atapuma broke his femur on stage seven of the Tour de France, in an incident involving his team leader Tejay Van Garderen. While Van Garderen was able to continue, he lost his lieutenant for the mountains.
Atapuma will not race again this season but hopes to recover in time to join the team for their winter training camps in Europe.
“I am happy and content that I can keep getting better every day,” said Atapuma. “I am aiming to be ready for the team's December’s training camp in Spain and after that to have the screws in my leg taken out in Germany."
“After the crash in the Tour de France, I spent some time recovering in Italy. I was feeling better every day and later I went to visit a doctor in America and I made a good recovery there.”
After having surgery on his leg, Atapuma travelled to Park City, Utah to continue his rehabilitation. He visited his teammates at the Tour of Utah before travelling to Colombia last Monday (11 August). The 26-year-old is in his first year with BMC, after making the move from the Colombia Pro Continental team. It was hoped and expected that Atapuma would be a key rider for Van Garderen in the mountains at the Tour de France and his departure was a significant loss for the team.
BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa supervised Atapuma’s recovery while he was in the United States, and says that he is pleased with the Colombian’s progress.
“He did very well here," said Testa. "He is still walking with crutches, but has started riding a bike indoors. Hopefully, in three weeks he can start riding outside. He is actually ahead of schedule, so we are very happy.”
The USA's Taylor Phinney is also continuing his rehabilitation after fracturing his tibia at the US national championships in June. He has begun riding on the road and will spend some time with his BMC teammates at the USA Pro Challenge next week in Colorado.