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'Unclear' when Wout van Aert will be able to return to racing

Belgian rider facing a slow road to recovery after horrendous Tour crash

Jumbo-Visma team doctors have confirmed that it is 'not yet clear' when Wout van Aert will be able to return to racing after crashing out of the Tour de France, as the rider stated he is still bed-bound.

The Belgian time trial champion suffered a terrible crash during the final kilometre of Stage 13 of the 2019 Tour de France – an individual time trial around Pau – after he got caught on a barrier when taking a sharp turn.

While he managed to avoid any bone damage, he did sustain a deep wound on his upper right leg.

Following the incident, Van Aert had the wound cleaned, stitched and drained over the weekend in Pau with further reconstructive surgery being conducted at the AZ Herentals in Belgium.

In the latest press release, Jumbo-Visma team doctor Toon Claes said that while 'there are no signs of any infections and the wounds are healing nicely, the extent and complexity of the injury call for a slow, meticulous rehabilitation.'

Claes added that intensive rehab will only be able to begin once the injury has fully healed, which should take two months, and that there is no timeline to his return to racing.

Now back at his home in Belgium, Van Aert confirmed that he was still bed-bound. 'At home, we have a hospital bed ready, but there’s no point going there if I can’t leave my bed,' he said. 'The crash has had a bigger impact than I initially thought.'

At only 24-years-old, precaution is probably the best measure for one of the peloton's most promising talents.

The three-time cyclocross champion immediately abandoned the Tour following the crash but had already left his mark on the race, taking an impressive individual victory on Stage 10 as well as team success in the TTT on the opening weekend.