Soler travels back to Sankt Gallen
29 May 2012


Eleven months after his serious accident in the Tour de Suisse, the Colombian visited the medical center whose ICU held him for the three weeks following his dramatic crash

Just under a year -the incident happened on June 16th- afer the crash that almost took Mauricio Soler’s life on stage six in the Tour de Suisse, the Colombian wanted to return to the place where he stood for the endless three weeks following his serious accident. The Colombian rider, accompanied by his inseparable wife, Particia, visited the Hospital Sankt Gallen, whose Intensive Care Unit kept him under induced coma for twenty days before being moved to Pamplona, where he started rehab before continuing in his homeland Colombia.

“He doesn’t remember anything from what happened there, but he felt it was something he needed to do,” explained Patricia. “We didn’t want to regret in some months’ time about not coming back to that hospital. It was really emotional and special. Mauricio had only known of the doctors and staff from some pictures, but felt like those voices weren’t unconnected to him, but something familiar. Thew were also moved and grateful about the visit, because it’s not normal for patients to come back to there. They were big cycling fans and always kept attention on his status.

The spectacular recovery by Soler, now into good physical status after a crash that left him with uncountable injuries and fractures, surprised the doctors treating him in such fateful moments: “They are surprised about his evolution, too. Mauricio has still many steps to improve ahead, but it’s amazing to remember how he was, eleven months ago. Travelling back to there was an indescribable experience, being the place where he had to learn to speak and walk again… There, a part from his life was left. After St. Gallen, we also visited Herisau, fifteen minutes from there, where Viviana, a Colombian doctor helping us much on those moments, stays as resident. It was also emotional for her to meet back with Mauricio”.

Soler and Patricia are staying in Pamplona from April 10, Mauricio going through several checks there and waiting for a call from the examining board that must value the status of his injuries. After four months of hard work in the Clínica La Sabana in Chía (Bogotá), Soler continues with his recovery on Navarran soil, in sessions of five to six hours before enjoying what remains his biggest passion: cycling. “When we leave the Mutua at 4pm, even though we still have to do the daily shopping or anything else, he says to me we can do later, because he has to watch the Giro d’Italia on TV. He is enjoying really much seeing his teammates doing such a great race and feels really proud about them still remembering him when they win. He’s also excited about our fellow countrymen Urán and Henao, with whom we live alongside Nairo Quintana when we are in Pamplona, and whose performances are getting him really happy.”

Despite a radical turn the bike caused in his life during the last year, Mauricio doesn’t feel any reproachful towards the world that built him as a person: “He says he’s sad of having left bike racing that way, but is also convinced there’s another way to enjoy the sport. No one could ever hear bad words from him towards this sport. For him, the most important thing is being alive and enjoying life with his son. Not everything was bad, because all these things made him feel love shown by so many people.

Picture 1: Mauricio Soler with Viviana Triana, intensivist treating him at the Hospital St. Gallen.
Picture 2: With Roger Lussman, intensivist and anesthesist doctor at the Hospital St. Gallen.