Belgian rider Stig Broeckx has regained consciousness having been in a coma since colliding with a race motorbike during the Tour of Belgium in May.
Broeckx suffered a severe brain injury as a result of the collision, and it was initially feared that he would not regain consciousness.
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Lotto-Soudal team doctor Servaas Bingé told sporza.be that Broeckx has started to respond to stimuli and can say a few words.
“Stig is officially out of a coma,” said Bingé.
“Stig is being taught again how to swallow independently and can say small and simple words like ‘tomorrow’. That is encouraging and positive. The family there spoke of communication, all at a very low level, of course. He also recognises other riders.”
The incident that resulted in Broeckx’s injuries occurred on stage three of the Tour of Belgium in May. Reportedly, Broeckx was hit by a race motorbike after it had collided with another motorbike that had broken down.
Broeckx had also been hit by a race motorbike in February while he was racing in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, breaking his collarbone.
In March, fellow Belgian rider Antoine Demoitié died as a result of injuries sustained after a collision with a race moto during Ghent-Wevelgem.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has introduced revised regulations relating to the number of motorbikes allowed, the size of the motorbikes and the way in which they are positioned during races.
UCI president Brian Cookson said in May: “Safety is an absolutely vital issue for the UCI and our stakeholders, and it is crucial we do all in our power to protect the riders from unnecessary risks. We have seen too many incidents involving motorcycles, and that is why we recently adopted clear new rules governing how vehicles must be driven in races.”