Giant-Alpecin's John Degenkolb could be out of action for three months, leaving the defence of his Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix titles in doubt
A British woman drove into him and five team-mates head-on in training on Saturday near Alicante. Degenkolb and American Chad Haga remain hospitalised.
Degenkolb was luckly to be close to Valencia, where Doctor Pedro Cavadas works. Cavadas specialises in plastic surgery and was the first to perform a double leg transplant.
Cavadas operated on Degenkolb for three hours after the crash to save his left index finger. He said that Degenkolb’s recovery “is going well” and that he can return to competition but “in theory, he will need three months” to do so.
The window of recovery, through April 23, estimated by Cavadas would exclude Degenkolb from all the spring Classics.
If his rehabilitation goes well, team Giant could perhaps field him in the Giro d’Italia. The race, where he won a stage in 2013, could prepare him for what would have been his second season goal, the Tour de France.
Cavadas said, “It’s not about returning to a normal life, his normal life is to compete at very high level” and so recovery time is “a little more than the normal recovery time” of other patients. Much, he added, depends on how the doctors take care of him when he returns to Germany.
Degenkolb is still in the hospital in Valencia, where he was transferred for the surgery on his finger. He also had surgery to repair a cut in his leg and a fractured forearm. The team said that he is due to travel home in “the next few days.” It added that recover “will take time, but it’s difficult to make an estimation at this point.”
The 27-year-old emerged in team HTC-Highroad with two stage wins in the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné. In 2012, he switched to his current team. Besides San Remo and Roubaix, he won 10 stages in the Vuelta a España, the Vattenfall Cyclassics, Ghent-Wevelgem and Paris-Tours.
American Haga underwent surgery to repair blood vessels and faces another for his fractured eye socket. The other cyclists Warren Barguil, Fredrik Ludvigsson, Ramon Sinkeldam and Max Walscheid are home, but need time to return to racing.
Local police said that the driver was a 73-year-old British woman who lives six months a year in Spain. She was driving a British-style car with steering wheel on the right-hand side. They would not release her name because of the ongoing investigation, but said that she will be charged imprudence and reckless driving.