Colombian Juan Mauricio Soler is being brought out of the medically-induced coma he was placed in following his crash in the Tour de Suisse last Thursday.
Doctors say the process of waking him up will take several days, and they will not have a clear picture of whether or not he has suffered lasting brain damage until later this week.
"A magnetic resonance scan of the brain today showed several micro injuries that had been expected considering the seriousness of the fall," said Dr. Roger Lussmann, the chief surgeon at the Swiss St. Gallen hospital told the Associated Press.
"It is too early to say which functional effects these structural injuries have."
Soler was lying in second overall before he crashed 33km into stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse when he hit a curb and flew into a fence, striking a spectator at the same time.
He was diagnosed with a fractured skull and placed in a medically-induced coma for treatment. He also suffered a broken ankle and punctured lung. Dr. Lussmann said his condition is stable, and his injuries are healing as expected.
Soler is one of several riders who have suffered serious head injuries in recent years, even in spite of UCI regulations requiring helmets.
Saul Raisin suffered lasting damage which ended his professional career at the 2006 Circuit de la Sarthe. Rabobank's Kai Reus crashed in training in 2007 and was in an induced coma for 12 days. He returned to racing a year later. Kurt Hovelijnck was on the Quick Step team when he suffered a brain injury in a training crash in 2009. He resumed racing the following year.
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