Egan Bernal may have only just worked far enough through his recovery to ride outside again but on Saturday the Ineos Grenadiers rider will be back to pedalling indoors. Bernal will take part in a virtual mass participation ride which is being held as a gesture of thanks for the outflow of support after his January training crash.
It was little more than two months ago that Bernal was in hospital facing up to surgery and a challenging recovery path after he fractured vertebrae, his right femur, right patella, several ribs and also suffered chest trauma and a punctured lung. Each recovery landmark along the way – from taking first steps, to pedalling on an exercise bike and riding outside – has been welcomed with thousands upon thousands of messages of support on his social media posts.
This support, said the team when announcing the ride, along with his determination to get back to racing has been helping driving the 2019 Tour de France and 2021 Giro d'Italia winner through the rehabilitation process.
“This has been, and still is, the biggest challenge I’ve ever had to deal with in life, and to be able to be back on my bike already so soon after my accident is something that I have been dreaming about for the last few weeks,” said Bernal in a team media statement announcing the event.
“I can’t describe how happy it has made me. But not being at the races I miss the fans and the support and energy they all give me, that’s why I want as many as possible to come join me on Zwift this Saturday and for us to ride along together for an hour.”
The ‘Ride with Egan’ Zwift event on Saturday April 2 at 5pm CEST will take on Watopia's Beach Island Loop.
Bernal’s training accident occurred on January 24 when he rode into a bus at close to 65kph while on his time trial bike, with the rider disclosing that it had been suggested there was a 95 per cent chance of paraplegia after the accident.
Recovering in Colombia, Bernal has so far quickly progressed through a number of rehabilitation landmarks, with the rider slowly pedalling on a laid back stationary bike in February, while a March 13 Instagram post celebrated the shift to an upright indoor training set up and recently he joyfully delivered photos of his first outdoor ride.
“The happiest day of my life,” said Bernal on that Instagram post from earlier this week. “After 2 months and 20 broken bones, here I am, and I want more!”
And clearly he got more, posting a video on Twitter of his second day on the bike, which also included a playful sprint.
2do día en bici ✔️O yo no perdí tanto nivel o ellos no han mejorado nada 🤨🤪 pic.twitter.com/0XI67rFjKrMarch 28, 2022
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Simone joined the team as Production Editor based in Australia at the start of the 2021 season, having previously worked as Australian Editor at Ella CyclingTips and correspondent for Reuters and Bloomberg.