Boeckmans crashed during stage 8 of the Vuelta, and suffered facial trauma with several fractures, concussion, three broken ribs, pneumothorax, a laceration of the lung, bleeding of the lung and swollen pulmonary tissue. He was kept in an induced coma for two weeks. Last week he revealed how he almost died several times but was saved thanks to excellent medical care.
"The training camp has gone better than expected. I've carried on with my rehabilitation exercise and I've managed to get some rides in as well," he told Cyclingnews from the team’s camp.
"On the first day I was able to do a couple of hours of a ride with the team but it was just at an easy pace. The next day I did around an hour and then I went my own way. I had a recovery day with some more rehab and then I did three hours the next day. I've managed to get some climbing in to and it's really been incredible, as before I was here I'd only done a few short rides."
Boeckmans lost 15kg after his accident – an incredible amount of weight for a pro-rider – and Lotto Soudal stood by him, literally at his bedside, as he regained his health and fitness. They confirmed that the rider would remain with him for the next two seasons and that they would provide their full support in Boeckmans' comeback.
Step-by-step the 28-year-old has seen improvements and "every week the body is making steps in the right direction and all the signals are positive. Every week it's better and better so if it continues like this it's going to be great."
Talk of a comeback to competitive racing has now been mentioned with a possible return as early as May. Boeckmans and his team have put no pressure on providing a definitive race for his first appearance but the commitment and desire are certainly there.
"I've been thinking about a comeback and racing since I woke up from my coma. Within an hour I was thinking about it," he told Cyclingnews.
"My head still needs some recovery but already if you compare where I was two weeks ago there's so much progress.
"My girlfriend was putting in double shifts to help me. I couldn't even dress myself or eat. She was working and also looking after me. Lots of people were supportive though. My fridge is still full of soup from all the people who came around and gave me food when I couldn't eat solids."
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