Vakoc to make earlier than expected return at Vuelta a San Juan

Petr Vakoc has confirmed that he will return to racing at the Vuelta a San Juan at the end of this month, two weeks earlier than initially planned and almost a year to the day after he was hit by a truck during training in South Africa.

“Originally, I was set to start the season mid-February at the Tour de la Provence, but since my progress has been very good, with the team we decided I will start racing already in Argentina at the Vuelta a San Juan, which begins at the end of January,” Vakoc said in a video message on his Twitter feed.

“I am looking forward to it so much. It’s going to be almost exactly a year after the accident. I am so happy to pin a bib number on again.”

The Vuelta a San Juan begins on January 27, just over a year after Vakoc suffered his training accident on January 26, 2018. Vakoc will join Julian Alaphilippe, Remco Evenepoel, Alvaro Hodeg, Iljo Keisse and Max Richeze in Deceuninck-QuickStep’s squad for the Argentinean race.

On Sunday evening, Vakoc posted a graphic summing up his penultimate week of training ahead of his season debut. During the week between January 14 and January 20, Vakoc racked up 18 hours of training and finished his Calpe training camp with a 185km ride.

Vakoc had been training in South Africa with teammates Bob Jungels and Laurens De Plus ahead of the 2018 season when the group was hit by a truck trying to overtake them.

Jungels escaped injury but Vakoc and De Plus were both hospitalised. De Plus, who now rides with LottoNL-Jumbo, suffered a broken pelvis while Vakoc was left with several broken vertebrae as a result of the accident. Vakoc would later say that he was lucky to be alive after the crash.

It would be almost two months before Vakoc had his first tentative ride on his bike, after rigging his home trainer to the ceiling, which allowed him to ride while lying down. A further three months would pass before he could ride outside for the first time, after being able to remove his chest brace in May.

In November last year, Vakoc announced his intentions to return to racing in February 2019 and has been posting regular updates about his progress on his social media.

Vakoc has written about his return from injury in a blog for Cyclingnews. Click here to read his updates.

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