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Explainer: How did Egan Bernal crash in Colombia? – VeloNews

Egan Bernal is in an UCI hospital bed in Colombia following a high-speed collision with a bus while on a training ride Monday.

Two surgeries overnight saw doctors treat the 2019 Tour de France champion for a long list of injuries that reveals the seriousness of the crash for the 25-year-old star.

Many are not only worried about his racing calendar, but for the overall health of the popular Colombian cycling ambassador. The entire cycling community is hoping for the best.

How did it happen?

According to media accounts, police reports, and photographs on social media, it’s possible to reconstruct a version of events that led up the impact and aftermath.

Here’s what known:

On Monday morning, Bernal joined a handful of his Ineos Grenadiers teammates on a training ride on a busy, divided highway running between Bogotá and Bernal’s hometown of Zipaquirá.

Bernal was training in Colombia ahead of his planned season debut at the Tour de la Provence and later a hyped up face-off against Tadej Pogačar (UAE Emirates) at the UAE Tour in February.

Bernal was healthy and confident ahead of what he hoped would be a return to the Tour in 2022.

After nursing through nagging back problems that torpedoed his hopes of a title defense at the 2020 Tour, Bernal bounced back to win the Giro d’Italia last year. He joined several Ineos Grenadiers teammates to train and prepare at altitude.

Also read: Close call for Bernal and teammates in Colombia

Training on Colombian roads, just like any place with high-traffic volumes, can be dangerous. Just days before, Bernal and his teammates saw a near-miss when an oncoming car crossed the double line to pass just meters ahead of a group of Ineos riders.

A fan captured video of a close call in Colombia for Egan Bernal and teammates. (Photo: Instagram)

On Monday, Bernal and teammates were riding near Gachancipá, about 30km north of Bogotá, when the crash happened at about 10 a.m., according to police reports.

The roadway at the point of the crash appeared to be straight, with relatively wide shoulders, and good surfaces.

So far, none of the riders joining Bernal have spoken in detail about what happened.

A Colombian police report reveals important details of the crash. Published in various Colombia media outlets, the report describes that an inter-city bus stopped for passengers ahead Bernal and the other cyclists.

“The vehicles were traveling between Tunja-Bogotá, when a bus stopped to leave a passenger and the [cyclist], who was traveling in the same direction and in the same lane, did not observe the movement made by the bus, and hit the back of the bus,” a police report read.

Photographs on social media revealed the abruptness of the impact.

Bernal slammed into the back of the bus, leaving a large imprint on the tail of the vehicle.

Exact details of what happened remain unclear.

According to the police report, the bus stopped on the roadway for passengers, and Bernal did not react in time to safely stop or steer around the bus. According to media reports in Colombia, so far the police are not putting any blame on the bus driver.

It’s not clear how fast Bernal was going, but it appears he was the only Ineos rider affected by the crash.

There are no reports of other injured riders, and videos and photographs in the aftermath of the impact do not reveal any other riders on the ground or to have been involved in a crash.

Following a short media note Monday, Ineos Grenadiers officials have not commented or provided further details.

What was obvious is that Bernal was unable to brake or steer wide, and slammed against the back of the bus.

Team staff was following in a car, and Bernal was immediately attended to by medical personnel. Ambulances arrived relatively quick to the scene, and Bernal — who was confirmed to be conscious — was transported to a local hospital.

Speaking to MARCA, Ineos Grenadiers sport director Xabi Zandio, who was not at the crash but was in touch with team personnel, confirmed a team doctor was present with Bernal.

“It was a hard impact,” Zandio told MARCA. “The bus was made of fiber and it wasn’t metal, so that helped absorb some of the impact.”

It also appears Bernal was riding on his time trial bike Monday.

Sources close to Bernal and witnesses said he was training that day on the time trial bike, though it is not entirely clear based on videos and photographs taken on the scene.

Also read: Egan Bernal hones TT position ahead of Tour de France return

Over the winter, Bernal conducted a series of time trial training sessions in Europe, and continued to train against the clock to improve his performance in the decisive discipline.

It remains to be seen if Bernal was down on the bars, perhaps slowing his reaction time ahead of the stopping bus. For whatever reason, Bernal struck the bus at a relatively high rate of speed.

An ambulance arrived, and Bernal was eventually transported to the Clínica de La Sabana, in Chía on the northern suburbs of Bogotá.

Cycling fans are hopeful Egan Bernal fully recovers from his injuries. (Photo: DANIEL MUNOZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Medical officials released a series of press statements outlining the seriousness of Bernal’s injuries.

He’s since undergone three surgeries, and will remain in the ICU for 72 hours, with one doctor speaking on Colombian TV adding, “If he’s back on the bike within a year it will be a miracle.”

Check back to VeloNews for more details on this developing story.