Spinal surgery a success for Vakoc after South Africa crash

Petr Vakoc underwent surgery in South Africa on Friday after breaking several vertebrae in a training ride crash, and the operation was declared a success.

The Czech rider will spend 10 more days in hospital before flying back to Europe to continue his recovery. 

Vakoc sustained the injuries when he was hit by a truck while out riding with Quick-Step Floors teammates Bob Jungels and Laurens De Plus. The trio were on an altitude training camp that has been curtailed by the incident, with De Plus suffering pulmonary and kidney contusions. Jungels did not crash. 

An update from Quick-Step on Saturday said that, despite the worries that come with spinal injuries, the immediate medical treatment went as well as possible. 

"Petr Vakoč underwent surgery at the Mediclinic Nelspruit to stabilize the broken vertebrae he sustained during his Thursday training ride in South Africa, when he was clipped by a truck. Stable and conscious after the accident in which also teammate Laurens De Plus was involved, the 25-year-old Czech went into surgery Friday afternoon and spent the entire night under observation, before being awakened by the doctors on Saturday," read the statement.

"The post-surgery tests conducted this morning showed Petr responding to all stimuli, moving and talking with the doctors, who deemed the intervention a success. Now, the Quick-Step Floors rider will spend ten more days in the hospital before traveling back to Europe."

Koen Pelgrim, the Quick-Step coach who was accompanying the riders in South Africa, added: "This morning I talked with Petr and he was relieved that everything went fine. The last 48 hours were long and nerve consuming, but we are happy things are good now. Petr needs a lot of rest and time to recover now, and we will be by his side to help him."

It unclear at this stage how long it will take for Vakoc to make a full recovery and return to racing.

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