Jay Vine will no longer need to wear a neck brace following his crash. GETTY IMAGES

Cyclist Jay Vine has been cleared to remove his neck brace for the first time and can now resume riding his bike outdoors. The news comes after a horrific crash at Itzulia Basque Country eight weeks ago on 4 April, which resulted in three spinal fractures.

UAE Team Emirates provided a welcome update on Wednesday morning, marking the first major medical news about Jay Vine since he was cleared to walk a week after his crash. The Australian climber, who went down alongside Jonas Vingegaard, Primoz Roglic, and Remco Evenepoel, suffered fractures in the upper cervical and thoracic sections of his spine but was free of neurological damage. 

Dr Adrian Rotunno, the team's medical director, shared the update on Vine's condition. "The interval CT scan shows adequate bone healing, so at this stage the neck brace can be removed. The spine is now stable enough to start with easy gentle outdoor rides with the aim of improving posture on the bike, and is key in preventing neuromuscular atrophy," he said.

"This process is being very carefully controlled, and Jay still has several weeks of focused rehabilitation to achieve. But this is the first big step up he’s taken in 7 weeks, which is good from a mental and physical perspective for him."

Before his stage four crash, Vine was preparing to support Tadej Pogacar in the Giro d'Italia and eyeing his own chances at the Vuelta a Espana. The 28-year-old had a strong start to the season, securing second-place finishes in the UAE Tour, wearing the red leader's jersey, winning the team time trial at Paris-Nice, and placing second in the individual time trial at Itzulia.

Vine was just 30 seconds off the lead when the crash occurred, resulting in severe spinal fractures. He was relieved to be cleared of neurological damage and began walking a week after the accident.

Jay Vine has been cleared of having to wear a neck brace following his Basque Country crash. GETTY IMAGES
Jay Vine has been cleared of having to wear a neck brace following his Basque Country crash. GETTY IMAGES

“Just can’t believe that I will still be able to walk and play with my kids one day. I’m tracking as well as can be expected, I have been able to walk around my room with the aid of a walker, and taking the first step was pretty emotional after what I've been through,” Vine wrote on social media.

"It was pretty scary for a couple of days when we weren't sure if surgery or neurological problems might present themselves. Long road ahead for my recovery, but I am looking forward to getting the process rolling."

After spending nine days in the hospital following the crash, Vine was cleared to continue his recovery at his home in Andorra in mid-April. His doctors determined that no surgery was needed, allowing his bones to heal naturally, and he began general rehabilitation within days. 

His wife, Bre Vine, expressed her relief on social media. "We are going to just be taking the time we need to catch up on rest, let the bodies recover and work through the emotions that come with this whole thing," she wrote.

"We've started talking about alternative goals and how we can approach the next chapter, but for the time being we are in the phase where we can't really do much, besides wait for bones to heal. Safe to say that we will be spending a whole lot of time prepping for baby Vine's arrival."

In the April crash, Vingegaard broke his collarbone and several ribs, while  Roglic and Evenepoel also had to withdraw. Vingegaard is recovering well, training in Mallorca, according to his Visma team coach. Evenepoel and Roglic have been training for weeks, aiming to be fit for the Tour de France starting 29 June in Florence.