Pogacar teammate Vine has brace removed seven weeks after crash

Australian cyclist Jay Vine has neck brace removed seven weeks after crash (Giuseppe CACACE)
Australian cyclist Jay Vine has neck brace removed seven weeks after crash (Giuseppe CACACE)

Australian cyclist Jay Vine had a neck brace removed Wednesday seven weeks after suffering spine injuries in a high-speed downhill crash at the Tour of the Basque Country.

Several top riders were injured in the high-profile crash including grand tour winners Jonas Vingegaard, Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglic.

Vine was one of the more severely injured competitors in the pile-up on a bend in the road after the front riders swerved to avoid a tree root.

The 28-year-old Team UAE rider had been preparing to support Tadej Pogacar at the Giro Italia for the UAE Emirates team.

Instead, he spent nine days in a local hospital before being transferred to a hospital in Andorra, where he lives with his wife and children

It was feared in the immediate aftermath he may not walk again.

"Can't believe that I will still be able to walk and play with my kids," Vine said when returning to Andorra.

Now his team doctor Adrian Rotunno has decided it is time for the climber to get back in the saddle to avoid muscular atrophy.

"Jay still has several weeks of focused rehabilitation to achieve. But this is the first big step in 7 weeks, which is good from a mental and physical perspective for him," Rotunno said.

At this stage, after seven weeks, the neck brace can also be removed.

"The spine is now stable enough to start with easy gentle outdoor rides with the aim of improving posture on the bike, and is key in preventing neuromuscular atrophy," the UAE team doctor added.

Two-time Tour de France winner Vingegaard broke his collarbone, several ribs, punctured a lung and lost a lot of skin in the April 4 horror crash.

The 27-year-old Dane has been training in Mallorca and his Visma team coach says he is healing and improving fast.

Evenepoel of Soudal-QuickStep and Roglic of Bora have not raced since but have been training for weeks with a much higher likelihood of being fit for the Tour de France which starts June 29 in Florence.