Updated: Encouraging signs for Nathan Van Hooydonck following car accident

Jumbo Visma rider became unwell at the wheel and crashed into multiple other vehicles

Clock12:16, Tuesday 12th September 2023
Nathan Van Hooydonck was rushed to hospital in a 'life-threatening condition'.

© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Nathan Van Hooydonck was rushed to hospital in a 'life-threatening condition'.

Jumbo Visma's Nathan Van Hooydonck was seriously injured following a car accident in Belgium on Tuesday morning.

The Belgian rider reportedly became unwell at the wheel of his car before colliding with a number of other vehicles at an intersection in the town of Kalmthout, to the north of Antwerp, at around 8:30am.

After being resuscitated at the scene, the 27-year-old was taken to hospital in what police officials described as 'life-threatening' condition. It is understood that the rider's pregnant wife was also in the vehicle but did not sustain serious injuries in the crash.

Belgian broadcaster Sporza reported that Van Hooydonck was placed into an artificial coma, as also indicated by Jumbo-Visma directeur sportif Grischa Niermann.

After Sporza suggested that those around him were "hopeful", mentioning the threat of brain damage, there appeared to be some more encouraging news by the evening.

Jumbo-Visma riders at the finish of the Vuelta a España stated that Van Hooydonck was awake and that they'd received 'better news' regarding the Belgian's condition during the stage itself.

Later, Jumbo-Visma issued a statement, saying: "Nathan Van Hooydonck is awake and doesn’t suffer injuries because of the traffic accident earlier today. His health situation is not critical. Further medical examinations have to determine why Nathan became unwell, while driving his car."

Three other people are understood to have been injured as a result of the collision, which took place on Tuesday morning.

A spokesperson for the border police zone, Patrick De Smedt, told Het Nieuwsblad: "A car with two occupants was waiting at the traffic lights at the intersection of Dorpsstraat and Kapelsesteenweg.

"The driver was resuscitated on site and taken to hospital in life-threatening condition. His pregnant wife who was sitting next to him was not injured but was also taken to hospital for a check-up."

Van Hooydonck last competed only on Sunday, helping his teammate Wout van Aert to secure a second Tour of Britain title.

On Tuesday, ahead of stage 16 of the Vuelta a España, Niermann spoke to reporters about the accident.

"It's very, very harsh news for us, for everybody, especially for the riders. And of course, our thoughts are with him, and also with his girlfriend, and we all hope and wish for the best.

"Right now, our thoughts are somewhere else [than the Vuelta a España], still we have a leader's jersey in La Vuelta and we will go on fighting. I hope the boys can change their mindset when on the bike but its a very difficult morning for us."

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