John Degenkolb has returned home to Germany to continue his recovery in Hamburg following a head-on crash during training in Spain.
Six Giant-Alpecin riders, including Degenkolb (GER), Warren Barguil (FRA), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Chad Haga (USA) and Ramon Sinkeldam (NED) were involved in the collision on Saturday, which the team CEO, Iwan Spekenbrink, said has set the team back months.
Degenkolb, whose left index finger was badly damaged in the crash, will now be unable to defend his Milan San Remo and Paris-Roubaix titles with his recovery "extremely difficult to predict".
Degenkolb posted on his Facebook page: "Blood tests, new plaster with upper arm - now I'm in the hospital s' accident Hamburg arrived. Tomorrow morning is coming, the head and then we will make a plan.
"Thank you to the ADAC and the doctor...and, above all, thanks to my family, my friends and the thousands-based messages from my fans. You give me strength. Thank you very much."
Degenkolb nursing his injured finger - from Facebook
Team physician Anko Boelens (NED) said: “John’s left index finger was damaged in the accident and he will have additional surgery in Germany. As a professional athlete, he needs the functionality back in his finger, and the recovery time for that is extremely difficult to predict.”
Reconstructive surgeon, Pedro Cavadas, who in his career has led the first double hand and double leg transplants, said that Degenkolb’s recovery “is progressing well” and that “theoretically he can return to competition in three months.”
Boelens says Barguil undergoes surgery next week for a scaphoid fracture, while Ludvigsson is showing good signs of recovery.
“Warren will undergo surgery on Thursday for his scaphoid fracture. This won’t change our earlier estimation of six weeks of recovery needed. Fredrik has already tried his first minutes on the home trainer and is showing good signs of recovery.”
Sinkeldam’s fractured scapula is worse than originally estimated, however, and although surgery is not needed, recovery will take longer than initially expected. Chad Haga (USA) will now not need surgery to his eye socket, which was fractured in the collision.
Boelens said: “Now the swelling has decreased and surgery won’t be necessary. Chad will be able to leave the hospital and travel home to Gerona, Spain, in the next few days”.
After successful surgery on both his tibia and thumb, Max Walsheid (GER), will stay in hospital for a few more days. His recovery is expected to take some months.
A car being driven on the wrong side of the road by a 73-year-old British woman crashed into six Giant Alpecin riders on Saturday. The motorist, who has not been named, has been charged by the Spanish authorities with reckless driving.
Earlier this week CEO Iwan Spekenbrink, said: “The recovery of the riders is the first priority, as well as the emotional processing of the event for those who were there. It is clear that the team has been set back some months. It will certainly take time for the team to return to full strength, but everybody will work hard, dedicated and closely together to get there.”