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by Shane Stokes
August 1, 2017
In today’s Daily News Digest: Teuns wins stage 3 of the Tour of Poland, Sagan retakes lead; Barbero wins Circuito de Getxo ‘Memorial Ricardo Otxoa’; Jungels extends until 2020 with QuickStep Floors; Girdlestone celebrates ‘miraculous recovery,’ reaches important milestone; Legal action launched following fire at Rio 2016 Olympic velodrome; Vuelta stage 17 summit finish to include gradients of 28%; Broken bones, healing hands: fixing the pro peloton in Herentals; Participant dies in 2017 Prudential RideLondon-Surrey sportif; Video: In the Team car with Katusha-Alpecin
Keagan Girdlestone’s previous achievements include victory in both the Ronde des Vallées and the Rhône Alpes-Valromey Tour, plus fourth in the 2015 junior world time trial championships.
Almost fourteen months after being involved in a near-fatal collision while competing in Italy, Keagan Girdlestone has reached an important point in his recovery. Already back training on the road and riding in some competitive events, albeit at a lower level than before, he has been given an all-clear by his doctors.
“Today was my final consultation with the doctors … finally a free man!” he announced via his Facebook page. “No more hospital visits (well, regarding ‘that’ crash anyway) and no more worries about potential surgeries! Officially: the body has made a miraculous recovery. Thought to be dead nerves now actually work, incredibly weak however but semi functional, which is more than any doctor could have ever envisaged! So today is a pretty good day and I hope you all have great days today! Sharing the love.”
The South African rider collided into his team car during the Coppa della Pace race on June 5, 2016, hitting the rear window while chasing back on a descent. He suffered huge blood loss due to lacerations to his carotid artery and his jugular vein, and was hospitalised in severe condition. He had uncertain prospects of survival and remained in a coma for several days.
Girdlestone’s parents were initially told he might not survive. When he did, they were told that he could be left without usual brain function. Fortunately both scenarios proved to be untrue, as did cautions that he might never walk again.
He defied expectations, returning to outdoor training on November 5, then riding a race in February. He has continued to build since then and says he will give his all to try to return to top-level cycling.