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Previously left in a coma after a serious crash nine days ago, the South African under 23 rider Keagan Girdelstone has taken an important step on the path to recovery.
A media update on the Facebook page of his father Wayne Girdlestone said that he was no longer unconscious and that he was breathing unassisted.
“Some more positive news emerging out of Rimini, Italy. Keagan is currently still in intensive care, critical but a lot more stable,” said the statement. “He is out of a coma and responding. The ventilator has been removed and he is breathing on his own. While these are all steps in the right direction, his injuries are still complicated. We are hopeful that he continues showing signs of improvement with each passing day.”
The 19 year old hit a car on a descent on the final stage of the Italian Coppa della Pace race on Sunday June 5 but, fortunately, the accident is less serious than was first stated. Some media outlets initially claimed the 19 year old had died.
His mother later described the trauma this had caused. “To say we were gutted to read reports on social media about his passing is an understatement‚” she told TMG Digital.
“We just had to believe that it was not true and wait for official news from his team. Who started the rumour or thought it their place to post it is beyond my comprehension.
Girdlestone was fourth in last year’s junior world time trial championships. He also took a stage win plus the overall victory in both the 2015 Tour du Valromey and the 2015 Ronde des Valles, and was second in last year’s junior Oceania Championship time trial.
He is one of the most promising young South African riders and is part of the Dimension Data Continental squad. This is a feeder setup for the WorldTour outfit.
In Tuesday’s post his family expressed gratitude to several people. “As always, his family are grateful for the continued support from all over the world, with special thanks to the cycling community at large, Robbie Hunter of Pro Touch Global Management as well as the staff of Rimini Hospital.
“Special mention to the family who own Hotel Betulla in Rimini who have gone to extraordinary lengths to assist Desere and Wayne through this difficult time.”