Ineos Grenadiers Grand Tour star Egan Bernal last night underwent double surgery on serious injuries, including a fractured femur, kneecap and vertebrae after colliding with a parked bus while training on his Pinarello time trial bike in Colombia.
Despite early media reports suggesting Bernal only sustained minor injuries, Clínica Universidad de La Sabana hospital in Bogotá soon revealed the severity of the situation, throwing doubt over the 25-year-old's ambition to challenge for yellow at the Tour de France in July.
A press release from doctors treating Bernal explained his leg and spinal injuries were operated on last night, which succesfully "kept intact the neurological integrity and conserved the functionality of the segments involved".
Colombian media now reports Bernal could be out of competition for at least three to six months while he recovers from the physical effects of the crash at El Roble toll.
Ineos Grenadiers this afternoon confirmed their rider's injuries, saying Bernal will stay in intensive care while his secondary injuries are treated and his response to trauma monitored.
An update on Egan.
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) January 25, 2022
The cycling world reacted with shock to the news, with well-wishes flooding in for last year's Giro d'Italia winner.
Alberto Contador tagged Bernal in an Instagram post, saying: "Friend, I wish you a speedy recovery, in these situations you have to get extra motivation to recover well and as soon as possible, you are a champion and you are going to prove it once again."
Compatriot Nairo Quintana also posted on social media: "I send my colleague Egan Bernal a hug of strength, I am aware of what this type of situation entails, I also know that it is always possible to get up and continue with more strength. Speedy recovery!"
Egan Bernal sufrió un accidente mientras entrenaba, chocó con un bus, noticia en desarrollo... pic.twitter.com/7tMQ21e1DZ
— Chasqui Deportivo (@chasquidep) January 24, 2022
Bernal was training in his home country ahead of the new season alongside a group of Ineos teammates, including Richard Carapaz.
Last week the group narrowly avoided a crash with a motorist overtaking another road user on a blind bend.
Bernal had been due to begin his 2022 season at Tour de la Provence in the second week of February, before a showdown at the UAE Tour against Tadej Pogačar.
His big goal for the year was returning to the Tour de France for the first time since 2020, when he pulled out injured ahead of stage 17 having already dropped out of the general classification hunt, however that now appears in doubt.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.