GENEVA -- Doctors treating Juan Mauricio Soler said Monday they are slowly waking the Colombian cyclist up from his induced coma, a process that may take days if all goes well.
The 28-year-old rider is in stable condition and his recovery is proceeding as expected, but there are concerns about the extent of his brain injuries and whether he will suffer any lasting damage from his crash during the Tour of Switzerland last week.
"The anesthetic medication has been stopped and Mr. Soler is in a controlled wake-up phase that will last several days," said Roger Lussmann, the chief surgeon at St. Gallen hospital's intensive care unit.
Soler was flown there by helicopter Thursday after hitting a curb, then smashing into a spectator and a metal fence during the sixth stage of the race.
Fellow rider Baden Cooke of Australia said "the fence did not move at all so Soler took the full impact."
A photo published in Swiss daily Blick on Monday showed the Colombian lying unconscious on the ground, blood coming from his ear.
Doctors diagnosed him with a fractured skull and ankle, as well as a lung injury.
"A magnetic resonance scan of the brain today showed several micro injuries that had been expected considering the seriousness of the fall," Lussmann told The Associated Press in an email.
"It is too early to say which functional effects these structural injuries have," he added.
Lussmann described Soler's overall condition as stable, and said the rider's lung injury is healing well.
"The other organ functions aren't affected. All in all, the healing process is as expected," he said.
Lussmann said that if Soler's condition deteriorates during the wake-up phase, he may have to be put back into a coma.