Ag2r La Mondiale rider back training, but struggling in old riding position

Three months after breaking his back in a horrific crash at Il Lombardia, Jan Bakelants has revealed that he has lost a centimetre in height due to his injuries

Ag2r La Mondiale rider Bakelants was one of three riders to crash over a guard-rail on a tricky corner on the descent from the Muro di Sormano at the race in mid-October.

Bakelants suffered broken vertebrae in the crash, having to spend a few days in hospital in Italy before being transferred back to Belgium, and speaking out to criticise some of the treatment he received at the side of the road, even claiming that a race motorbike ran over his leg while he was being attended to by medical staff.

The Belgian rider has now been back on his bike for a few weeks, but wrote on Instagram that he had been struggling with his normal position and that the problem had been blamed on an apparent loss of height caused by injuries sustained in the crash.

“Since my crash I felt my old position wasn’t doing the trick any longer,” Bakelants wrote. “As it turned out I got 1cm shorter due to the multiple fractures.”

Bakelants is currently back training, albeit with metal rods in his back which are to stay in place for a few months and are apparently intended not to impair his riding.

Ag2r La Mondiale are yet to set a date for Bakelants’s return to racing, although he looks likely to miss at least the first few months of the 2018 season.

Laurens De Plus was one of the other riders to crash on the same corner as Bakelants at Il Lombardia, and suffered further injuries when he was hit by a truck while training in South Africa.

De Plus fractured his knee in the crash at Il Lombardia, but on Tuesday was diagnosed with a fractured pelvis and spine following the crash in which team-mate Petr Vakoc also suffered a broken back.