Van Impe states that De Wilde has ‘very minimal’ risk of paralysis
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Van Impe states that De Wilde has ‘very minimal’ risk of paralysis

by Shane Stokes at 7:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
Belgian rider keen to return to racing as soon as possible

Sjef De WildeFollowing concerns yesterday that Belgian rider Sjef De Wilde could face the risk of paralysis after his crash at the end of the Scheldeprijs yesterday, team manager Lucien Van Impe has confirmed that his condition is better than originally thought.

"The last message I got this morning is that the risk of paralysis in my rider is very minimal," said Willems Veranda's Van Impe to today.

“Sjef is now stable. After many studies in the hospital in Merksem, it was found that the first and seventh vertebrae were badly hit. He had also a mild brain haemorrhage and also something seemed wrong around his lower back.

“Today the news already much more positive…the probability that he would have permanent paralysis is fortunately shrinking.”

At first feared that his first vertebra (C1) was fractured. He was immobilised due to fear of paralysis, and further tests were ordered.

“A second scan showed that the C1 is not broken and that is very important," directeur sportif Dieter Deprez told Sporza.

The crash happened right at the end of the race, which was won by Mark Cavendish (HTC Highroad). De Wilde moved right to avoid some fallen riders and clipped a barrier. Overhead images from the sprint appeared to show that barrier jutted out slightly.

Van Impe said that his rider was determined to return. “Sjef can remember back to the fall and says he now wants to resume as quickly as possible.”

However he faces a period of time wearing a neck support, and is thought to be out of action for two to three months.

Several other riders also fell heavily in the sprint, including Garmin-Cervélo’s Tyler Farrar and Wouter Weylandt of the Leopard Trek team. Earlier, Edvald Boasson Hagen and George Hincapie were also in crashes. Boasson Hagen has three broken ribs and will miss Paris-Roubaix, while the American’s lighter injuries mean that he is stiff and sore, but still hopes to race on Sunday.

Cavendish's victory saw him bounce back from a difficult period to net his second victory of the season.


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