A gendarme who spent a month in a coma after being hit by a motorbike while he was on security detail at the Tour de France is looking forward to getting back to work after completing his recovery from his injuries – and he has also been given a framed yellow jersey signed by Chris Froome.
Corporal Jérôme Cotto was struck by a motorcycle being ridden by a member of the Republican Guard – also a branch of the Gendarmerie – on 15 July during Stage 10 of the race from Tarbes to La Pierre St Martin, reports France Bleu.
He spent a month in a coma in hospital in Pau, then in September was moved to a rehabilitation centre in Bagnères-de-Bigorre where he learned to walk and talk again.
When he emerged from his coma in mid-August, Corporal Cotto said he could recall taking up position on the route of the race but nothing afterwards. He also said that while he was in the coma, he dreamt about his childhood.
“It took me a while to realise I hadn't seen August, or late July,” he said. “Seeing me friends from the Gendarmerie and my family is restoring my confidence, Now, when I'm at the hospital I feel like a visitor, not a patient.”
Before the crash, Corporal Cotto passed his exams to become a senior non-commissioned officer and is now keen to return to training. In the meantime, he is playing sport every day.
This week, Tour de France race director Christian Prudhomme visited Corporal Cotto and presented him with a yellow jersey signed by 2015 champion, Froome.
— GendarmerieNationale (@Gendarmerie) December 4, 2015
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.