14 October 2015
Kris Boeckmans isn’t nominated for a Flandrien. The most prestigious cycling prize in Belgium, that is being awarded to the best rider at the end of every cycling season, will not go to ‘Boeckie’. This is quite unexpected, because he managed to gain 8 UCI victories this year. At least that is what Thomas De Gendt pointed out to all his Twitter followers. “Strange, no Kris Boeckmans in the selection of the Flandrien. With 8 UCI victories and as national victory king it would not have been out of place.” The five riders that did make the selection are Tiesj Benoot, Greg van Avermaet, Tim Wellens, Edward Theuns and Philippe Gilbert. These guys are all great and talented riders, but they didn’t end up in the top 10 of riders with the most UCI victories this season.
Kris Boeckmans from Team Lotto-Soudal had a good season until the 8th stage in the Vuelta, when 50 kilometres before the finish in Murcia, the rider was involved in a massive crash. His teammate, Tosh van der Sande, stated later that Boeckmans was drinking when an unavoidable hole in the road appeared. Boeckmans looped, fell flat on the road and was unconscious at first. He was then taken to hospital with a severe head trauma and multiple fractures. “He’s conscious and the situation is stable,” his team stated on Twitter at the time. Later on, it became clear that Boeckmans had a lot more injuries; he also suffered from a concussion, a collapsed lung and a bleeding in his lung. This even resulted in the fact that his doctors had to decide to keep him in a coma for a few days. It was not until the 16th of September that Kris Boeckmans let the world know that he made it and that he was on his way back to recovery, even though it would take a long time before he would be his normal self again and be able to ride his bike.
On the 24th of September, Kris Boeckmans tweeted that he left the hospital in Genk. He had been transported already from a hospital in Spain to one in Belgium. The week before, he had an operation that took over five hours in which the doctor used fifty small metal screws and eight plates to reconstruct his face and recover the fractures. Now he has to face a long recovery period; his rib fractures need to recover naturally, as well as his lung injuries. But it’s good to see him smile again after such a horrible time. And I agree with Thomas De Gendt: he really deserved the Flandrien nomination. After all the misery, the nomination would remind him of the good times in 2015 with 8 UCI victories.