Cycling - Bernal to make race return in Denmark after near-fatal crash


FILE PHOTO: Egan Bernal of Colombia

(Reuters) - Former Tour de France and Giro d'Italia winner Egan Bernal will return to racing in the Tour of Denmark on Tuesday, eight months after a training crash in his native Colombia almost left him paralysed.

His Ineos Grenadiers team said the 25-year-old had passed a final fitness assessment over the weekend ahead of the five-stage race.

"After what happened to me in January this has been the moment I’ve been waiting for -- to race with my teammates again," Bernal said on the team .

"I can’t emphasise enough how hard the last eight months have been for me, both physically and mentally. That day, and the journey that I have been on since will be a part of me forever, it’s something you never forget."

Bernal, who won the 2019 Tour de France and last year's Giro d'Italia, slammed into a stationary bus in January while riding a time trial bike at around 65 kph.

He broke his vertebra, right femur, right patella and also suffered a punctured lung.

He had said he had a 95% chance of becoming paraplegic but left hospital in February and was back on his bike in March, describing that as the "happiest day" of his life.

"When you think back to where Egan was only eight months ago, it's incredible the progress he has made," said Ineos deputy team principal Rod Ellingworth.

"We’re still on a journey with Egan, but lining up at the Tour of Denmark is a significant and hard-earned milestone."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Susan Fenton)

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