Keagan Girdlestone, the young South African rider who doctors did not believe would survive an horrific crash in June while racing for Dimension Data’s under-23 team in Italy, is back on his road bike.
In a video posted to YouTube, the 19-year-old undertakes a short ride that won’t be the longest or fastest he’s ever done, but no-one would argue against it being the most courageous and inspirational.
Beforehand, he said: “I’m excited, I’m nervous, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to ride the bike.”
And then he does exactly that.
It’s less than three months since the 19-year-old, in a wheelchair, was welcomed home to New Zealand with an emotional haka performed by pupils from his former school.
Just two months earlier, doctors believed he would die after he sustained injuries including a severed carotid artery and jugular vein when he crashed through the rear window of his team car during the Coppa della Pace in Emilia-Romagna on 5 June.
Keagan moved to New Zealand with his family several years ago as his father, a former pro, believed that would help further the cycling careers of Keagan and his older brother Dylan, who rode this year for Drapac.
Chapeau, and we wish him all the very best with his continued recovery.
You can find more videos following his story on his YouTube channel.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.