Former Tour de France champion Egan Bernal has suffered serious injuries in a crash while training in his native Colombia.
Reports in the country suggest that Bernal, 25, had been involved in a collision with a parked bus while riding close to his home in Bogata, with images showing Bernal receiving treatment next to a heavily-dented vehicle.
A statement sent to the PA news agency from the Clinica Universidad de La Sabana in the Colombian capital said the 2019 Tour winner would undergo surgery later on Monday.
We can confirm Egan Bernal has been taken to hospital following a training accident on a Team camp in Colombia this morning.
We will provide a further update on Egan's condition in due course.
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) January 24, 2022
According to the statement, Bernal suffered “cervical and thoracic trauma, closed chest trauma, skeletal muscle trauma and lower limb trauma” in the accident.
The Ineos Grenadiers issued their own statement which did not give details of Bernal’s injuries, but did say he had been conscious when transferred to hospital by the team’s medical staff.
“He is stable and undergoing further assessment,” the statement read.
While the majority of the Grenadiers squad trains in Europe, Bernal has remained in Colombia to prepare for the upcoming season, riding alongside a select group of team-mates that includes former Giro d’Italia champion Richard Carapaz.
Bernal, who took his second Grand Tour victory in last year’s Giro d’Italia, had been expected to start the new season at the Tour de la Provence in France, beginning on February 10, but his 2022 campaign will now be in question given the extent of the injuries he has suffered.
Es horrible leer de la caida de Egan. Todo equipo @INEOSGrenadiers y el deporte esperanzas noticias buenas. Otra recuerda de el peligrosos de los caminos.
We are all hoping you are ok @Eganbernal. So scary to read this news. A sad reminder how dangerous our training can be.
— Tao Geoghegan Hart (@taogeoghegan) January 24, 2022
Earlier this month Bernal signed a new five-year contract with the Ineos Grenadiers, and set out his ambitions to target the Tour again this summer.
Several riders and teams were quick to post messages of support to Bernal on social media.
Bernal’s team-mate Tao Geoghegan Hart, the 2020 Giro winner, wrote: “We are all hoping you are ok @Eganbernal. So scary to read this news. A sad reminder how dangerous our training can be.”