Amy Pieters is now able to walk without help, ten months on from the serious training crash which left her in a lengthy coma.
In an update published on her website on Tuesday morning, it was revealed that she is now able to take steps unaided, and has also cycled on a side-by-side tandem.
However, the statement also revealed that there have been struggles, such as an epileptic seizure, and that while she can say lone words occasionally, Pieters can still not talk.
The update says: "With a little help, she gets up from her chair and takes her own steps. She walks for short moments when supported. This is what we like to see... We must have patience and hope. We are convinced that Amy will show us some very beautiful things."
The Dutch rider crashed after a collision during a national track team training ride on December 23 in Calpe, Spain. She lost consciousness following the fall, and was taken via air ambulance to a hospital in Alicante.
She underwent surgery to relieve pressure on her brain, before being placed in an induced coma, which was later extended. Doctors then transferred Pieters to a hospital in the Netherlands in January, where she remained under supervision for months.
During that time, she went through neurological rehabilitation treatment. During her road career she won the Tour of Flanders twice, four stages of the Women's Tour, and the European road race, among 17 victories.
Earlier this year, a fundraising campaign was launched to support Pieters. The program, called "Amy Pieters: Champion of hearts", was set up "to offer Amy as many opportunities as possible to get the most out of herself".
People are still encouraged to donate: "Treatments that Amy can undergo, both in the Netherlands and abroad, are not all reimbursed. Modifications and tools are very expensive. Yet, with your help, we want to offer Amy as many opportunities as possible to get the most out of herself."
The latest statement reads: "Amy has taken her first steps! Amy has been in therapy for a while at the Daan Theeuwes Centerin Woerden, the Netherlands. Various exercises and training sessions are given that Amy participates in. Amy has already been able to cycle along on a side-by-side tandem.
"Lately, it’s been a little more difficult to motivate Amy with physical exercises. Talking is not yet possible, which makes it difficult to explain herself. Not being able to explain or express herself is sometimes a bit difficult for her and also for us. Fortunately, she can be motivated by playing a game. We take it for granted that she chooses her own moment. And that moment comes because suddenly she is standing!
"With a little help, she gets up from her chair and takes her own steps. She walks for short moments when supported. This is what we like to see.
"Amy sets the pace. There are days when she doesn’t want to show this again, and then there comes another day when she wants to stand, starts walking, and immediately makes a serious effort.
"What she shows then is the conviction that Amy will be able to walk again! Amy’s tiny steps are already turning into real steps. What a progression!
"We now hear more and more soft sounds from her. Then we’re glad to hear from her. Sometimes we suddenly hear a small word clearly escape from her mouth. She does not repeat this yet, but it’s so nice and hopeful to hear her familiar voice in this spontaneously uttered word.
"However, there are also moments of panic. Everything seems to be going a little better and then suddenly we are again confronted with the facts. Amy had a epileptic seizure. Ambulance at the door and panic everywhere. The last time Amy had a epileptic seizure, she had a massive relapse. Probably by acting well and quickly and letting her sleep for a long time, Amy has no further serious consequences, apart from a considerable fatigue. Thank god.
"We must have patience and hope. We are convinced that Amy will show us some very beautiful things.
"We can’t thank the people often enough who help Amy. This also applies to her fellow rehabilitators, who continue to motivate each other positively. This strengthens everyone. But also thanks to the volunteers, therapists, doctors, friends, acquaintances, family and everyone who gives Amy a warm heart."
Donations can be made at AmyPieters.nl.
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1