Mauricio Soler has returned to Europe, and made a point of visiting the Hospital Sankt Gallen, where he lay in the intensive care unit for 20 days after a crash in the Tour de Suisse. The Colombian is continuing his rehabilitation in Pamplona, Spain, and cheered on his former teammates and countrymen in the Giro d'Italia.
Soler fractured his skull after colliding with a spectator in the sixth stage of the 2011 Tour de Suisse. He was placed in an induced coma, and in July was moved to a hospital in Pamplona, before returning home to Colombia in December. Soler had to return to Spain for further examinations, and whilst here, wanted to visit the Swiss hospital.
“He doesn't remember anything from what happened there, but he felt it was something he needed to do," his wife Patricia said on the Movistar website. "It was really emotional and special. Mauricio had only known of the doctors and staff from some pictures, but felt like those voices weren't unconnected to him, but something familiar."
The medical staff was pleased with his recovery, she said. “Mauricio has still many steps to improve ahead, but it's amazing to remember how he was, 11 months ago. Travelling back there was an indescribable experience, being the place where he had to learn to speak and walk again... There, a part from his life was left.”
Soler has only thing on his mind when it is time to leave therapy, his wife said. When the appointment is done, “even though we still have to do the daily shopping or anything else, he says to me we can do it later, because he has to see the Giro d'Italia on TV. He is enjoying really much seeing his teammates doing such a great race and feels really proud about them still remembering him when they win."
He has no bitterness against the sport that so changed his life, she said. “He says he's sad of having left bike racing that way, but is also convinced there's another way to enjoy the sport. No one could ever hear bad words from him towards this sport. For him, the most important thing is being alive and enjoying life with his son. Not everything was bad, because all these things made him feel love shown by so many people."