Five days after undergoing surgery on his left kneecap, Alejandro Valverde left Düsseldorf’s University Hospital on Friday morning and headed back home to Spain. The 37-year-old will continue his recovery in Murcia after the horrible crash suffered last Saturday in the opening time trial of the 2017 Tour de France.
Valverde has made steady progress in the days since the crash, being even able to slightly bend his knee (30º), get on his feet and walk with crutches, thanks to an orthopedic boot which allows him to rest his foot on the floor.
“Everything’s on the right track,” explained Valverde. “The most important thing at this point is to take slow but safe steps. It’s going to be a long process, and we must remain calm and confident. The doctors, though, seem really satisfied about how everything has evolved so far – and that makes me happy.”
Valverde accompanied by his wife, Natalia, thanked the hospital’s staff for the attention received since he was admitted on Saturday evening.
“They’ve been so supportive,” he said. “When I underwent surgery we were already seeing they were phenomenal, skilled people, but all the time afterwards – they’ve made sure we never lacked anything, they really helped us a lot to feel there like home, and when you’re so far away from Spain, it really means a lot to you.”
Valverde, who has followed the Tour’s first stages from the hospital with interest, sent a message of support to his team-mates: “I really miss them a lot, and try to stay in touch with them every day. I’m sure every single one of our members will do a great race, and I’m confident Nairo will be up there with the top contenders.”