Former Tour de France winner Egan Bernal still in intensive care

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BOGOTA, Colombia — Former Tour de France champion Egan Bernal remained in intensive care in Colombia after undergoing what his team described as “two successful surgeries.”

The 2019 Tour champion from Colombia, where he is a beloved celebrity, collided with a bus parked on the shoulder of a road outside Bogota on Monday morning while training with his team Ineos Grenadiers.

Bernal was transferred to the University of La Sabana Hospital near the capital. His team said he fractured his right femur, right kneecap, several ribs and a vertebrae and suffered a punctured lung and chest trauma.

“Doctors were able to medically pin his right leg and stabilize the vertebrae fracture in two separate surgeries last night,” Ineos said. “He is now in an intensive care unit where other potential secondary injuries are being managed, as well as his body’s response to the trauma.”

Colombian President Ivan Duque went on social media to wish the cyclist a speedy recovery.

Camilo Pardo, a sports doctor in Bogota, said cyclists usually take around eight months to recover from a fractured femur, while a kneecap injury like the one sustained by Bernal could take even longer to heal.

“I doubt he will be able to compete this year, not even in the Vuelta a Espana in September,” said Pardo, who has been treating cyclists for three decades.

Bernal had trained with several members of his team recently near his hometown of Zipaquira, which is 2,650 meters (8,600 feet) above sea level.

Police said Bernal hit the back of a bus that had pulled over to drop off a passenger and was parked on the emergency lane.

Col. Juan Carlos Castro, deputy director for Colombia’s transport police, said Bernal had split from the rest of his teammates as he trained for a time trial, and was hunched over his bike in an aerodynamic position, which prevented him from seeing the bus that had pulled over ahead of him. He said Bernal was traveling at around 50 kilometers per hour (31 miles per hour) when the crash occurred. Bus stops are rare along rural roads in Colombia and it is legal for buses to use emergency lanes to pick up passengers.

Bernal’s accident puts one of cycling’s most promising careers in jeopardy. The Colombian cyclist was victorious in the Tour at the age of 21, becoming one of the youngest riders to win the prestigious race. He also claimed the Giro d’Italia title last year and placed in the top 10 in the Vuelta a Espana.

The accident highlights the challenges faced by cyclists of all levels in Colombia, where potholes are common and lanes for cyclists are limited. Last year more than 470 cyclists died in traffic accidents in the South American country.

Australia’s Jay Vine wins Tour Down Under

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ADELAIDE, Australia — Australia’s Jay Vine defended his overnight lead to win the Tour Down Under, the first event of the 2023 World Tour.

Simon Yates of Britain won the final stage and moved up from third to second place on overall standings. Vine came in second on the stage to secure the biggest win of his career in a stage race.

The UAE Team Emirates rider took the overall tour lead when he finished second in Stage 2 and third in Stage 3. He came into the final stage with a 15-second lead on general classification.

The 70-mile stage involved four laps of a 15.5 mile-circuit through the Adelaide Hills before finishing just beyond the summit of Mount Lofty.

Yates led the crucial attack on the ascent less than 1.2 miles from the finish, but Vine jumped onto his wheel and Australian Ben O’Connor also joined in.

O’Connor led out close to the finish line, Vine briefly passed him but Yates came over the top to claim the stage win. Vine retained his overall advantage and claimed the title in his debut appearance in the Tour Down Under.

The 27-year-old made his name in e-Sports before being signed by the UAE team after winning the academy program on the Zwift online platform. He won two stages of the Vuelta a Espana last year and the Australian Time Trial title.

“It’s pretty incredible to be standing here and wearing this jersey,” Vine said. “The way we drove that was first class. My guys were incredible.”

The final stage featured a breakaway of 13 riders but Vine’s UAE teammates led the chase by the peloton and put their rider in a position to contest the win.

Yates again rode an aggressive race but had to be happy with the stage win.

“We came Down Under with a lot of ambition. We put a lot into it and we didn’t come away with the overall but we can walk away pretty happy,” Yates said. “Obviously Jay Vine is a massive talent and the crowd will be happy with a local winner.”

France’s Coquard wins Tour Down Under Stage 4; Vine leads

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ADELAIDE, Australia — French cyclist Bryan Coquard won Stage 4 of the Tour Down Under for his first-ever World Tour win, while Australia’s Jay Vine retained the overall tour lead by 15 seconds with one stage remaining.

Coquard is a lightweight sprinter who has had 49 wins in a decade-long career but had never won on the World Tour until he cleared out near the finish to claim the 82-mile stage by a margin of about just over 100 feet.

Vine was among the leading group that shared Coquard’s winning time and who retained his lead on general classification over Britain’s Simon Yates and Germany’s Phil Bauhaus. The race concludes with Stage 5, which ends atop 2,329-foot Mount Lofty.

“It’s a long time that I’ve waited for this win, 10 years,” said Coquard, who rides for the French Cofidis team. “I never really expected and I’m very happy and relieved with this win.”

While the stage was flat and suited sprinters, it had its challenges. Cross-winds and occasional gradients made the stage difficult and confounded some riders.

After an early breakaway by Jonas Rutsch and former tour winner Daryl Impey of South Africa, the peloton broke into two groups with Vine and other tour leaders among the leading group.

The leading group stayed together around the last, sharp bend towards the finish and Coquard bided his time until his late sprint left other riders flat-footed.

“It was pretty stressful,” Vine said. “There was one point there, I thought we were going to have an easy day and I was happy, smiling, waving to families on the side of the road.

“Then, 45 kilometers in it was on and it was on until the end so it was a very hard day. There was a lot more calorie expenditure than I was planning.”