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Milan Vader to be repatriated two weeks after crash in Basque Country

Milan Vader
Milan Vader (Image credit: SprintCyclingAgency)

Jumbo-Visma's Milan Vader is beginning to recover from a serious crash at Itzulia Basque Country two weeks ago, the team announced on Friday. 

Vader, 26, crashed over a guard rail during stage 5 of the WorldTour race and tumbled down a steep embankment, suffering broken vertebrae, a fractured collarbone and broken shoulder blade and, more seriously, compression of his carotid artery that supplies blood to the brain.

Vader was rushed to a hospital in Bilbao where doctors placed him in an artificial coma and inserted stents in his carotid artery. The team gave no further updates until Friday, after the good news came that he was taken off sedation on Tuesday and then showed encouraging signs.

On Friday, the team wrote that his "recovery is progressing steadily, thanks to the good care of the medical staff", and added "next week, Milan will normally come to the Netherlands for the next step in his process."

The rider's father Patrick has been in Spain during the ordeal and gave an update to the regional Dutch outlet Provinciale Zeeuwse Courant (opens in new tab).

"He has started his rehabilitation and the prospects are good," Patrick Vader said. "The people here say that they see from him that he is a top athlete. Milan even inquired about his teammates immediately after he woke up."

The rider's Instagram story (opens in new tab) was updated on Saturday morning with an image from his time with the Dutch national team, who he raced in the Tokyo Olympic mountain bike event where he finished 10th. "Better news now," the post stated, referencing the Jumbo-Visma announcement of his repatriation.

The picture is less clear for Vader's compatriot Amy Pieters (SD Worx) who crashed during a national team camp in January and has been in a coma ever since. The BBC posted an update on Pieters two weeks ago, with team director Danny Stam saying her situation was still uncertain.

"There is still no clear picture of what we can and cannot expect," Stam said. "The doctors say 'as long as she doesn't do things on command, she's not awake and we can't wake her'."

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Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks.