Luis Ángel Maté will return to racing at the Vuelta a España after a horrific crash at the Tour of Poland that left him needing 50 stitches in his head.
The Cofidis rider hit a pothole on the opening stage in Poland and went down hard, splitting his head open and being taken to hospital.
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Maté suffered a severe blow to the head that caused a major haemorrhage and needed 50 stitches in his head to close the wound, saying after the fall that his helmet saved his life.
After the crash, Maté said: “At the end of the stage, I tried to go up Pippo (Filippo Fortin) to allow him to compete in the sprint. There was a hole on the road at the end of a bend, and I did not see it.
“Although I never lost consciousness, the fall was brutal. Fortunately Stéphane (Desbuisson, the team doctor) and Roberto (Damiani, sports director) stayed with us in the evening to support us. Thanks also to the fans who know how to support us in good times and bad times. I cannot wait to get back on a bike and resume the competition: it will be the best gift I could give them. “
He added: “The helmet saved my life. I lost a lot of blood and most likely I have to stay a couple of days under observation.”
“Now I’ll just focus on resting, recovering and riding my bike as soon as possible.”
Maté had only spend four days back on the bike by August 16 and was unsure whether he would be included in the Vuelta squad, being bed-bound after the crash because of the amount of blood he lost and the antibiotics he was taking.
But Cofidis have confirmed that the 35-year-old will be riding his home Grand Tour.