Eddy Merckx has left hospital after suffering a head injury following a bike crash during a Sunday ride with friends.
The Belgian returned home on Saturday, a week after the crash, having suffered a haemorrhage and also briefly losing consciousness.
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The cycling great was first attended to by a passer-by before being taking to the intensive care unit at a hospital in the Flemish city of Dendermonde.
Merckx was kept in hospital while doctors investigated if an unknown condition had caused the fall as well as the extent of the damage he had done himself. The pacemaker he has fitted a further cause for caution, but following the culmination of tests he was allowed to go home.
“Eddy is doing well, but he got a scare,” Merckx’s friend Paul Van Himst told Het Laatste Nieuws. “He felt something and slipped out of his pedals for an unknown reason. When Eddy rides a bike, he no longer reflects on how much his body has lost – he always rides with a whole group that easily cycles 70km.
“But when I say that he will break himself, he does not want to hear that. That is his character: don’t give up. Fortunately he was wearing his helmet. You have to be lucky at such moments.”
While Merckx returns home, his former rival Roger De Vlaeminck remains in hospital, having been placed in intensive care with a fever last week. He will stay in hospital for another week for further examinations, but the Belgian is said to be “doing good now” after suffering from cold shivers the evening before taking himself to hospital.
As well as Merckx and De Vlaeminck, Raymond Poulidor was also recently admitted to hospital, with his condition said to be “improving significantly” after his family had initially been “very worried” about his condition.