Bernal recovering after successful neurosurgery; doctors

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Cycling - Giro d'Italia - Stage 19 - Abbiategrasso to Alpe di Mera, Italy - May 28, 2021 Ineos Grenadiers rider Egan Arley Bernal Gomez of Colombia finishes stage 19 in third place REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini/File Photo

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BOGOTA, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Neurosurgery on Colombian cyclist Egan Bernal has "ended successfully," the hospital where he was treated said on Tuesday, hours after the former Tour de France winner slammed into a vehicle and injured his spine, legs and chest.

Bernal, who became the first South American to win the Tour in 2019 and added the Giro d'Italia to his list of achievements last year, hit a stationery bus while training with his Ineos Grenadiers team in Gachancipa, about 50 km north of Bogota, the Sabana University Clinic said. [ L1N2U422N]

His team said Bernal suffered "a fractured vertebra, a fractured right femur, a fractured right patella, chest trauma, a punctured lung and several fractured ribs" in the crash.

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Doctors pinned his leg and stabilised the fractured vertebra in two operations on Monday night, it added in a statement posted on social media.

"Egan remains in stable condition in intensive care after two successful surgeries," it said.

Doctors at the clinic where he was being treated said in a separate bulletin the 25-year-old was in the Intensive Care Unit connected to a ventilator to help him breathe.

He is also being monitored to reduce the chances of infection.

"We hope to see a progressive evolution in the next 72 hours in the Intensive Care Unit," the bulletin said.

Bernal, who was the youngest rider to win the Tour in more than a century, recently extended his contract with Ineos Grenadiers to 2026.

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Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta in Bogota; writing by Andrew Downie Editing by Christian Radnedge

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