Nathan Van Hooydonck is awake after he was put in an induced coma having been involved in a serious car crash on Tuesday morning in Belgium.
According to Belgian media, the 27-year-old Jumbo-Visma rider was waiting at a junction in the town of Kalhmthout, north of Antwerp with his pregnant wife in the passenger seat. He is said to have fallen ill while at the junction, which caused an accidental acceleration into traffic.
Multiple cars were reportedly involved in the crash, but it is unknown what happened to Van Hooydonck or what injuries he sustained, but he was reported to have been put into an induced coma.
The Belgian rider was resuscitated at the scene before being taken to Antwerp University Hospital along with his wife, who escaped serious injury, according to reports.
By Tuesday evening, Van Hooydonck was awake and without serious injury, according to his Jumbo-Visma team.
"Nathan Van Hooydonck is awake and doesn’t suffer injuries because of the traffic accident earlier today," the team said on social media. "His health situation is not critical. Further medical examinations have to determine why Nathan became unwell, while driving his car.
"We want to thank everyone for the messages and the medical staff in the hospital for taking such good care of Nathan and his family."
On Wednesday morning, the team said the Belgian was "doing well".
"Nathan Van Hooydonck is communicating and doing well, considering the circumstances," Jumbo said. "He was very happy to hear that Jonas has won yesterday's stage in La Vuelta and moved deeply by the fact that he dedicated the victory to him."
"A car with two occupants was waiting at the traffic lights at the intersection of Dorpsstraat and Kapelsesteenweg," Patrick De Smedt, a spokesperson for the border police zone said earlier in the day, according to Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.
"The driver was resuscitated on site and taken to hospital in life-threatening condition. His pregnant wife who was sitting next to him was not injured but was also taken to hospital for a check-up."
Three other people in other cars who were involved in the incident and suffered minor injuries, according to the Belgian press.
In a statement on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, Jumbo-Visma said that it could not confirm the reports that his condition is "critical", but one of the team's directeurs sportif, Grischa Niermann, told Sporza at the Vuelta a España pre-stage that he was in an artificial coma.
"We can confirm that earlier today our rider Nathan Van Hooydonck became unwell while driving his car, leading to his involvement in a traffic accident," the team wrote in a statement posted to X, formerly known as Twitter.
"He was subsequently transported to the hospital, where he is receiving good medical care. We cannot confirm rumours that his condition is critical. He is undergoing further medical examinations. Thank you all for your messages to Nathan and the team."
"I don't know much more than what's in the media. We know he had an accident and is in hospital. I think he's in an artificial coma. I can't confirm whether or not he's in mortal danger," Niermann said.
"We do know that we, especially the riders, are very affected. We hope that Nathan is OK, that his condition improves, and that his wife is OK.
"The riders have reacted strongly to the news. We're here in the Vuelta with the leader's jersey and we'll be racing again soon. That's not easy, and I hope that soon we'll be able to focus our minds. You never want to hear this kind of news. We can only have hope."
Post-race at the Vuelta a España, Jumbo-Visma riders said on television that Van Hooydonck was now awake.
"It will be a day to remember of course, because of the mixed feelings," Attila Valter said. "We heard at the bottom of the climb that Nathan is awake, and he’s pretty ok. That’s what I hoped for. It was a good stage for us, we wanted to go for it. There are mixed feelings, but we had to get through this, and give this stage to Nathan. We heard he is awake, and I hope he watched that we are all cheering for him and this victory is for him."
"We had some terrible news this morning, and I wanted to win for my best friend today," stage winner Jonas Vingegaard said. "Luckily now, there is good news about his condition. That’s a big relief for me, for the team, and I hope he will recover soon.
Van Hooydonck recently returned from the Tour of Britain, at which Jumbo won four stages and the overall.
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