The Bahrain Merida pro suffered a fractured vertebra after a spectator interference on Alpe d’Huez climb during stage 12 of Le Tour.

Initially, Nibali thought a slowing police motorbike had been the cause of the crash. But as a footage later showed, it was actually a roadside fan’s camera strap that caught his handle bars and sent the Italian to the ground. Amazingly, the 33-year-old was able to get up and finish the stage. He crossed the line just 13 seconds behind the stage winner Geraint Thomas.

Vincenzo Nibali pictured after a fall during the twelfth stage in the 105th edition of the Tour de France, 175,5km from Bourg-Saint-Maurice Les Arcs to Alpe d’Huez, Thursday 19 July 2018. © Profimedia, Zuma Press – News

Nibali was then taken to hospital in Grenoble where it was quickly found out that it was not possible for him to continue the chase of Team Sky’s riders. He flew back home to Italy for recuperation, and Bahrain Merida issued a statement yesterday that he had undergone a successful surgery. The operation was performed by neurosurgeon Prof. Giovanni Broggi at the clinic “La Madonnina” in Milan.

“Vincenzo Nibali underwent percutaneous bilateral vertebroplasty surgery of the 10th thoracic vertebra,” explained Bahrain Merida team doctor Emilio Magni, who was present at the operation. “It consisted of the injection of biocompatible cement into the body of the vertebra.”

According to the statement released by the team, Nibali should be able to get out of bed today. He’ll stay at the clinic for a few days and then return to training. Initially, it should be just a static bike, but the team believes he’ll be back on the road very soon.

Does it mean he’ll be ready for the World Championships road race in September? We certainly hope so.

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