Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Petr Vakoč will make an emotional return to the peloton at the Vuelta a San Juan, a year after he suffered serious injuries when hit by a truck.
The Czech pro suffered several broken vertebrae and required surgery after he and team-mates were hit by a lorry while training in early 2018.
Vakoč missed the entire season and said he was lucky to be alive after the crash.
The 26-year-old will return to racing in Argentina on January 27, a year after the crash.
Vakoč was training in South Africa last January when he, Laurens De Plus and Bob Jungels were hit by a truck.
Jungels was unharmed, while De Plus fractured his pelvis and lower back, and Vakoč required surgery for several broken vertebrae.
It was three months before Vakoč had healed enough to pedal on a static bike, and in June he was able to train out on the roads with team-mates.
Vakoč had hoped to return to racing in February, but will take to the start line earlier after making better progress than expected.
His last race day was Binche-Chimay-Binche back in October 2017.
In November, Vakoč said: “I was hit by a truck and I am lucky to be alive.
“After three surgeries, months of rehabilitation and gradually increasing the training load it seems I might be able to come back.
“Not just back to normal life, but back to racing.”
He added: “A distracted driver or bad luck can send you to the ground and your life might be over.
“I am grateful to be alive.
“Surely it is not possible to prevent all accidents, but I am convinced that their risk can be reduced.
“People in cars often do not realise how dangerous it is to pass cyclists only by centimetres.”
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