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by Shane Stokes
January 28, 2016
Photography by Cor Vos
Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix winner John Degenkolb has returned to Germany after being hit by a car last Saturday, with his Giant-Alpecin team confirming that he will undergo additional surgery as a result of the accident.
The German rider was one of six from the team who were hit head-on by a car driven on the wrong side of the road by a 73 year old British tourist. He almost lost a finger and also suffered a fracture to his forearm and wounds to his leg and hip.
“John’s left index finger was damaged in the accident and he will have additional surgery in Germany,” stated team physician Anko Boelens on Wednesdays.
He added that it is currently impossible to say when he will be back in action.
“As a professional athlete, he needs the functionality back in his finger, and the recovery time for that is extremely difficult to predict.”
The surgeon who treated him in Spain stated this week that the rider would be out at least three months, meaning he will miss the defence of his San Remo and Roubaix titles.
Also due to go under the knife is team-mate Warren Barguil, who sustained a fracture to his hand in the same crash.
“Warren will undergo surgery on Thursday for his scaphoid fracture,” Boelens explained. “This won’t change our earlier estimation of six weeks of recovery needed.”
He returned home this week, as did team-mates Fredrik Ludvigsson and Ramon Sinkeldam. Boelens confirmed that the latter has a fractured scapula and while surgery is not needed, that this will delay his recovery.
As for Ludvigsson, he is described as showing good signs of recovery. He has been able to start using his home trainer.
A fifth rider involved in the crash, Max Walscheid, has undergone successful surgeries on both his tibia and thumb in his native Germany. After remaining in hospital for several more days, he will head home. The team has stated that his recovery will take some months.
Chad Haga is the sixth Giant-Alpecin rider to have been caught up in the accident. It was previously thought that the American would need an operation to correct an orbital fracture, but he has received some good news in that regard.
“Now the swelling has decreased and surgery won’t be necessary,” said Boelens. “Chad will be able to leave the hospital and travel home to Girona, Spain, in the next few days.”