Egan Bernal faces a long spell of recovery and rehabilitation due to the multiple fractures he suffered after hitting a bus while training in Colombia, but his agent Giuseppe Acquadro is hoping that the Ineos Grenadiers rider can eventually return to racing and continue his successful Grand Tour career.
Bernal was born on January 13, the same day as Marco Pantani. The Italian suffered an exposed tibia and fibula fractured in his lower left leg after being hit by a car in 1995 but recovered and went on to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 1998.
Bernal’s injuries are perhaps more complex, but he can benefit from more modern medical techniques to aid his rehabilitation. He underwent emergency neurological spinal surgery on several vertebrae overnight, with the procedure described as a 'success' by doctors.
He also fractured his right femur and needed osteosynthesis surgery. He had a similar operation on an open fracture of the kneecap, as well as treatment for a collapsed lung.
"Egan and Marco Pantani were born on the same day and have suffered similar bad luck in accidents. Let’s hope that Egan recovers just as well as Marco did and goes on to have the same success," Acquadro told Cyclingnews, trying to be optimistic after spending the night in contact with people in Colombia to understand the outcome of Bernal’s surgery.
Acquadro intends to travel to Colombia to see Bernal, perhaps when he can leave the hospital.
"I understand everything went well and now Egan is in intensive care. He’s in good hands, the hospital in Bogota is very good. People from the team are with him and so are his family. That’s important."
Acquadro has worked with and advised Bernal for much of his career. Few people know him better. He expects Bernal will use the same determination he used to win races when he begins to recover from his injuries.
"It’s a huge blow because he was really looking forward to the new season and targeting the Tour de France but, knowing him, he’ll soon be motivated to fight back and recover. We’ll be there to help him all the way," Acquadro said.
"Egan is mentally strong and will come back from this. When he focuses on a goal, he’s incredible. He was looking forward to duelling with Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič but that now won’t happen for a while.
"He’d got over his back problems and had been working hard for six months. This is another setback but we can only hope he makes a full recovery."
Acquadro is an agent for a number of other riders, including Nairo Quintana, who was hit by a car while training in Colombia in the summer of 2020. A huge number of riders and people across the sport showed their support for Bernal on social media.
"Egan is a good guy and people see that," Acquadro said.
"He does a lot to help other people, even behind the scenes. He respects his rivals and they respect him. Every cyclist knows the dangers of training on the roads and so share the pain when accidents like this happen. I’m sure the support will help Egan."
Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*
Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets
After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1