Stig Broeckx has ridden a bike for the first time since his life-threatening crash at the 2016 Belgium Tour. The Belgian, who suffered severe brain damage and was in a coma for more than six months, posted a photo on his social media accounts after a 40-kilometre ride on his mountain bike.
The ride is the latest step in what has been a remarkable recovery, having once being declared in a vegetative state, and he vowed that his next goal was to get out on his race bike.
Broeckx, now 28, suffered the devastating injury when he was hit by a motorbike at the Belgium Tour in May 2016. With a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain, he was in a coma for more than six month, and doctors feared he might never emerge from it.
He did just that, however, in December 2016, and since then his recovery has been described as 'miraculous'. Having had to start from scratch, learning how to swallow independently, move his muscles, and then walk and talk, he rode on an indoor trainer for the first time last year.
This weekend, however, he reached a new milestone, heading outside to ride a real bike for the first time since the crash two and a half years ago. Riding a mountain bike, he covered 40 kilometres in north east Belgium.
"The ride did a lot of good," Broeckx said on the Studio Brussels programme, which went to visit him at the rehabilitation centre on Overpelt. "I had been looking forward to it very much.
"The next goal is to ride the race bike. I still have that love for racing and am still following it all."