Tom-Jelte Slagter can start training again only two weeks after his terrifying crash near the end of the fifth stage of the Giro d'Italia. The first year Rabobank pro, who said that he doesn't remember anything about the accident, now hopes to be at the start of the Vuelta a España in August.
Slagter, 21, suffered a fractured eye socket (orbit), concussion and facial wounds when he crashed trying to get a water bottle from an Euskaltel-Euskadi soigneur.
“I hadn't had a bottle in a long time and suffered from a dry mouth,” he said on the Rabobank website. “Then I saw an attendant from Euskaltel standing there with bidons. I made a hand gesture that I wanted one. He then threw it to me.” That is the last he remembered before waking up in the ambulance with the team doctor beside him.
He then spent three painful and “difficult days in the hospital. All alone. I was very tired and I slept a lot. He could not bear to watch the Giro on television at that time, but now it's all right.”
Slagter said that he watched the mountain stages “with interest” and “with pleasure I see Steve Kruijswijk shine. It sill hurts a bit because I would have liked to have tested myself at that level.”
Now, however, he has received permission from the team's medical staff to get back on his bike. “I couldn't get better news. Sometimes I still have headaches. I told the doctors but they saw no obstacles to a return to cycling. I can't wait to jump back on the bike.”
Looking to the future, he would like to ride the Vuelta. “I don't know what the team thinks about that, but I would love to be at the start. In my first year I wanted to start a Grand Tour. The first chance, unfortunately, had a premature ending.”
But, as he pointed out, “the season isn't over yet.”