The Giant-Alpecin sprinter was one of six riders to be hit by a car driven by a 73-year-old British woman during a training camp in Spain on Saturday. Degenkolb has a broken arm and a severe finger injury.
“In theory it’s three months (of recovery) but since he rides at a very high level he needs a bit more time,” Pedro Cavadas, who led the surgery on Degenkolb, was quoted as saying by Spanish news agency EFE.
The woman at fault has been released from police custody and charged with reckless driving, according to CyclingNews. She was allegedly driving on the wrong side of the road when she hit the group of cyclists who were riding two abreast and heading in the opposite direction.
“Perhaps it was a moment of forgetfulness and she was driving on the side of the road she’s used to [in the UK],” a source has said, according to Spanish daily AS.
“But here we drive on the other side of the road and this kind of carelessness almost resulted in lives being lost.” The crash happened at Benigembla, near Alicante.
The paper also reported that the British woman splits her time between homes in Britain and Spain, spending six months of the year in each. She was driving a right hand drive (British style) vehicle when the incident happened.
Five of Degenkolb’s team-mates were also injured in the crash. Chad Haga is recovering from surgery on his neck and chin, and will soon have surgery on the bone that surrounds one eye.
Warren Barguil fractured his scaphoid and Max Walscheid fractured his tibia and his thumb. Fredrik Ludvigsson and Ramon Sinkeldam have cuts and bruises all over their bodies. Sinkeldam also has a fractured scapula.
(Chad Haga) @thehagasaki: Day 2 of full consciousness has flown by with my caregiver. I can see better, walk around and stand up on my own, and general pain and stiffness and swelling are also down. At this rate I'll be on a bike in no time!
The Giant-Alpecin team are placing a priority on recovery before making any firm announcements about their plans for the upcoming classics season.
Milan-San Remo takes place on March 19 and Paris-Roubaix on April 10. The physical and psychological recovery will take most riders a matter of months rather than weeks.