Edward Theuns had recounted memories of the injury he suffered earlier this season, and the long road back to recovery.
He had started this season on an impressive note and showed a lot of promise, finishing third in the Dwars Door Vlaanderen and fourth in the highly competitive Scheldeprijs.
The Belgian rider had his first Grand Départ experience with Trek-Segafredo, and earned several top ten placing in the first week.
However, his luck ran out at the stage 13 time trials when he crashed into a ditch, and suffered a compressed fracture of the T12 vertebra, resulting in what might be considered as the most severe injury sustained by a cyclist this season. The injury was evaluated by his team, and they confirmed that his season was over.
Speaking to Cycling News about his journey to recovery, he explained that the worst is behind him, but he is still a far way off from total recovery.
“I’m doing better than I’d expected. I can train to a schedule and the only thing I have to watch out for is power training. I still have to do specific training for my back and still have some pain and feel it from time to time but its okay.”
The rider revealed to Cycling News that he had been very scared and had feared the worse when the incident occurred; pointing out that an injury to the vertebrae is a serious condition.
He was hospitalized and had a back surgery, being unable to move for a couple of weeks. When he was finally out of the hospital, he needed help moving around and wore a brace for about three months as part of his rehabilitation.
Slowly building strength, and hoping desperately to get better, he had to spend five days a week in lengthy physiotherapy sessions. And finally, he was able to start cycling to the therapy appointments. Speaking to Cycling News he said:
“I feel maybe better than last year in terms of fitness, but it’s hard to say where I am for things like power and sprints.”
Finally, although still with the use of the brace, he was able to throw his leg over a saddle for the first time since the crash. He began to cycle to the therapy appointments and, although the distances were short, they were a huge mental breakthrough for the rider.
“It was only 7km but that first ride was incredible,” says Theuns. “One minute you’re in the Tour de France, then you’re having surgery in the blink of an eye, so to be back on the bike felt like a really great,” he added.