Joseba Beloki, the Tour de France Captain of the ONCE-Eroski team, who had to abandon the race following a dramatic fall, underwent surgery today in Vitoria.
Immediately after his horrific fall Beloki tried to convince Manolo Sáiz to put him back on his bike and let him continue in the race. He was not conscious of the gravity of his injuries. When he finally said good bye to the race and was admitted into hospital, he asked the manager of the ONCE squad, Pablo Antón, to apologise to his team mates on his behalf since he felt that he had failed them.
The Doctors declared the operation a complete success and believe that the Basque rider could be training on rollers within three weeks, however, almost certainly, he will not be able to compete for the rest of the season.
Beloki arrived yesterday in Vitoria from Marseilles, and his four hour operation today was carried out by specialist Mikel Sánchez. Joseba was calm and quiet while the surgeon explained what the operation would entail just before surgery began.
Following the operation Mikel Sánchez said, "Everything has gone very well, we are very happy with how the surgery went.”
Mikel Sánchez began on the dislocated and fractured right hip: "It went very well,” commented the surgeon, who had inserted a plate with five screws into the hip.
Following that they operated on the elbow fracture - “because of its complexity, we were worried about this but the operation went well and we are happy with it.”
The third fracture, the right wrist, was less complicated and also went well.
Mikel Sánchez also commented - "These were serious injuries, but we are confident he should make a full recovery. Provided there are no complications he should be able to return home with 4 to 5 days or a week. We will have to take it day by day.”
Provided everything goes to plan the plaster should be off his elbow in two weeks and shortly after that Beloki should be able to walk using crutches.
So in approximately "three weeks, if everything goes well, he could begin to train on the rollers", said Mikel Sanchez.
However, it is almost certain that his season is over.
"Now it is necessary to take the things calmly and slowly, in principle it is almost impossible for him to consider racing again this season. And I would recommend that he does not even consider the idea. It is essential that his hip and elbow are 100% before he thinks about returning to racing and that will obviously take time.”
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Joseba Beloki arrives in Vitoria