Laurens De Plus has had to endure more than most in his young career after two major crashes in quick succession tested his resilience to the maximum. Now embarking on his first season with the Jumbo-Visma team, De Plus says that recovering from the injuries he sustained have changed him as a person. De Plus always has a wide smile on his face, except when he’s in the midst of a race, but the last two years have been trying for the 23-year-old. He was the first of four riders to crash on a bend on the descent of the Sormano during the 2017 Il Lombardia and go over the guardrail onto the steep slope beyond. The Belgian fractured his knee in the incident and spent much of the off-season recovering from the injury. With the knee fracture firmly put behind him, De Plus was then training in South Africa with teammates Bob Jungels and Petr Vakoc last January when the group was hit by a passing truck. Jungels escaped injury but Vakoc fractured his spine while De Plus was left with a pelvis and sacrum fracture. It was May before he was able to start his 2018 season.ADVERTISEMENT “It was just a hard time. But, I had a lot of support from the people around me. Still, I am very thankful for them because without them I may not have been a rider anymore. It changed me as a person,” De Plus told Cyclingnews. “When something goes wrong in a race then you can maybe put it in a bit more perspective. It’s only a small thing.” With an injury-free end to the season, De Plus was able to enjoy the off-season properly and savour the time that he could spend with his family, without a visit from the doctor.
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