One of three riders to crash badly on a tricky corner at Il Lombardia last October, Ag2r La Mondiale's Jan Bakelants is now free of some of the metalwork that has been helping his four broken vertebrae to heal over the last six months.
Bakelants crashed over the barriers on the descent from the Muro di Sormano last year, going down in a similar manner to the spectacular crash of Laurens De Plus that was captured by the television cameras.
While De Plus broke his knee, Bakelants fractured four vertebrae and several ribs, having to undergo surgery in Italy to stabilise the fractures with various screws and bolts put in place to aid the healing process.
Remarkably the Belgian rider returned to action at the Classique Loire Atlantique at the end of March, before riding the Tour of the Basque Country, Amstel Gold Race, and La Flèche Wallonne ahead of his operation to have the screws removed from his back.
Bakelants shared a photo of the screws and pins that have been in his back for the last six months on social media writing: "For those wondering what the hardware in my back looked like. Glad I got rid of it. Time to move on."
The various screws and pins were accompanied with €1 coin, which we're hoping was just put there for scale rather than having been left in his back by some clumsy surgeon.
Bakelants is far from the first pro cyclist to share photos of the metalwork that they've had taken out of their body. Last year José Joaquin Rojas shared a photo of the foot-long metal rod that he'd been riding with in his leg for the whole of the 2017 season.
Unfortunately Bakelants might not enjoy the same weight loss as Rojas had after his operation, but this is sure to be of very little worry for the Ag2r La Mondiale man as he continues his comeback from what could have been a career-threatening crash.
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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
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