Eeckhout out for a month, lucky to be walking
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Friday, April 23, 2010

Eeckhout out for a month, lucky to be walking

by VeloNation Press at 9:29 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Brabantse Pijl

Niko EeckhoutBelgian hardman Niko Eeckhout of the An Post-Sean Kelly Team recieved some bad news from his doctors which will delay his return to competition. The 39 year old rode both the Brabantse Pijl and the GP Denain with a broken vertebrae. The veteran sniffed out the winning move in the Brabantse Pijl that included the eventual race podium, Sebastian Rosseler (RadioShack), Thomas De Gent (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) and Jurgen Van De Walle (Quick Step), but was forced to drop out of the race.

"The pain was unbearable," Eeckhout told Sporza at the time. "Every dent in the road caused so much grief that I abandoned on Wednesday and on Thursday. I was really discouraged as I had good legs."

His injury was caused by a crash in the GP Cerami at the beginning of April, and he was hoping that he could ride after 10 days rest.  Doctors took a second x-ray and have now prescribed a month off the bike for the Flemish rider, meaning Dutch organizers won't see him on the start line for the Ronde van Overijssel.

The former Belgian champion had been riding impressively all spring and said in a team statement just how lucky he was to escape permanent injury: "When he showed me the x-ray, I saw how close everything was [to a serious injury]. Had I not been very lucky I could have ended up in a wheelchair. It was by a thread [that he escaped a worse fate]. That makes it slightly easier for me to accept this misfortune. It could have been much worse."


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