Belgian rider says horror crash during Il Lombardia has not put him off cycling
On the descent of the Sormano, he overshot a right-hand bend, hit a guardrail and somersaulted into the ravine below. His bicycle remained dangling above as a marker for the fallen rider below.
De Plus, who escaped with only a knee fracture, plans to continue descending as normal when he returns to competition.
“Scared? No not at all. I’m trying to let it go,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “I think that if you start thinking about it, it will affect your entire career.
“I have also trained in groups a few times. Training and competition is something completely different: it may be that it will be difficult in my first race, but I do not expect any problems. I hit the reset button right away.
“I certainly want to return to Lombardia, because that course suits me. I showed that this year too, I only made a stupid mistake in the final.”
The 22-year-old chased lone leader Mickaël Chérel (Ag2r La Mondiale) on the technical Sormano descent with around 35 kilometres to race when the “mistake” happened. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) later attacked solo to win the monument.
He was one of four cyclists crashing on that bend this October 7. Simone Petilli (UAE Team Emirates), Daniel Martinez (Wilier-Selle Italia) and Jan Bakelants (Ag2r La Mondiale) also fell. Bakelants suffered seven rib fractures and two vertebrae fractures.
“The first three weeks were difficult, but the body of a top athlete and a young healthy person simply recovers faster. I can already climb a bit uphill, so everything will be fine,” added De Plus.
“I have regular contact [with Bakelants], we are a bit of fellow sufferers. I often think about him. It is going well for him, which makes me happy. Of course, Jan has a totally different injury and is a bit older, which might be a bit more difficult in his head.”
Last week, Bakelants said, “The healing has gone according to plan and I can cycle outside again from January. Soon I will maybe be able to ride on the rollers.”