Feel-good story of the Tour: Stig is back and Stig is beautiful

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At the 2016 Tour of Belgium, Stig Broeckx was involved in a crash with two race motorcycles and nearly lost his life. The then-26-year-old Belgian was taken to hospital with serious head injuries, including a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain, and was in a coma for months. At the time doctors feared he may never regain consciousness.

Three years later, Stig has defied the odds and is doing better than anyone expected. This month he’s been at the Tour de France paying a visit to his friends and former colleagues.

Former Lotto-Soudal teammates Andre Greipel and Stig Broeckx catch up in Toulouse at the start of stage 12 of the 2019 Tour de France.

Kristof Ramon, one of CyclingTips’ photographers, has captured a few photos of Stig at the race and has provided some stirring commentary about the now-29-year-old’s visit:

Most beautiful scene at the Tour de France so far? In 2014 Stig Broeckx rode a long time at the front of Tour of Flanders in his first year as a Lotto-Soudal pro. In 2016 Stig was involved in a crash at the Belgium Tour and he ended up in a vegetative state coma. Life as it was for Stig was over at that point.

After seventh months of coma he started showing signs of awakening. The progression he made since is nothing short of miraculous.

Today Stig visited his first cycling race since the accident. Stig has become an inspiration to many in the meanwhile because of the way he commits to his recovery and his positive approach to life. Everywhere he stopped along the course, people stepped up to the car and wanted to greet him, shake his hand, see him. Stig is back and Stig is beautiful.

“For the very first time since his race accident 2.5 years ago, which left him in a coma for seventh months and from which he miraculously awakened, former rider Stig Broeckx visits a cycling race. Driven around in the VIP van of his former Lotto-Soudal team with driver (former Flanders winner ) Eric Vanderaerden (138 career wins!!) sitting next to him. As they stop halfway up the Col de Peyresourde, (mainly Belgian) people spontaneously walk up to the car to greet Stig, who has become an inspiration to many because of the way he fights back to a ‘normal life’.” Photo and caption by Kristof Ramon

Stig Broeckx’s recovery is nothing short of a miracle. He’s had to learn how to swallow again, how to move his muscles, how to talk, and then how to walk. Defying all odds, he climbed back onto an indoor trainer in 2017, and then a year later, in late 2018, he got out for a 40km mountain bike ride.

You can follow Stig Broeckx’s progress on his on Instagram and Twitter accounts. If you can understand Flemish, view a video about his story and progress here.

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