Hoogerland gets good news, but still in intensive care

Vacansoleil's Johnny Hoogerland is still in intensive care after being hit by a car while out training on Sunday, but he was given good news by doctors today: his liver is not as badly damaged as previously believed.

The team announced today that the Dutch rider will be in the intensive care unit in Spain until mid-week, and cannot be relocated to his home country until next week.

Hoogerland was heading out for a motorpacing session to prepare for the Tour Méditerranée when a car turned out in front of him, and he had no chance to avoid hitting it.

Doctors diagnosed the 29-year-old with five broken ribs, fractures on his spine and a bruised liver. However, "an effusion of blood" in his abdomen was around but not on his liver.

The team's directeur sportif Aart Vierhouten is heading to visit Hoogerland, who was still trying to regain his form of 2011 when he wore the polka dot jersey in the Tour de France before being taken down by a reckless driver in a race vehicle. Vierhouten says the team will miss Hoogerland.

"Besides the good news regarding his liver this is a personal drama for every top athlete. I have to say that I am happy that the liver injury is not too bad, but it still is a big injury. The main concern is that he gets better soon. Besides that the team will of course miss him in the coming months. After a hectic winter last year it was a good and relaxed winter this year in which Johnny was on his way to reach his 2011 level."

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