Cycling - Hoogerland liver injury better than feared after hitting car

Vacansoleil's Johnny Hoogerland is "relieved" after suffering five rib fractures, broken spinal bones and a bruised liver.

The rider was taken to a hospital in Villajoyosa on Sunday after he was hit by a car while training for the Tour Méditerranée in Spain.

The 29-year-old was going slightly downhill in front of a scooter which was going to pace him for a training ride when a car turned out in front of him.

There were fears that he had torn his liver, but that is not the case.

He will remain in intensive care for a few days ahead of a return to the Netherlands next week.

"Besides the good news regarding his liver this is a personal drama for every top athlete," said sporting director Aart Vierhouten.

"I have to say that I am happy that the liver injury is not too bad but it still is a big injury. The main concern is that he gets better soon.

"Besides that the team will of course miss him in the coming months. After a hectic winter last year it was a good and relaxed winter this year in which Johnny was on his way to reach his 2011 level."

Hoogerland held the King of the Mountains jersey twice during the 2011 Tour de France.