Amy Pieters (right) won gold with Dutch teammate Kirsten Wild in the women's Madison during the 2021 track cycling world championships

The Hague (AFP) - Dutch cyclist Amy Pieters has taken her first steps and has been able to ride in tandem for the first time since the life-threatening accident she suffered last December, her website announced on Tuesday.

“With a little help, she gets up from her chair and takes her own steps. She walks for short moments when supported,” said the website.

“Amy sets the pace. There are days when she doesn’t want to show this again, and then there comes another day when she wants to stand, starts walking, and immediately makes a serious effort.

“What she shows then is the conviction that Amy will be able to walk again! Amy’s tiny steps are already turning into real steps. What a progression!”

Pieters, 31, suffered a serious accident in December while training with the Dutch national track cycling team in Calpe, Spain.

She then lost consciousness after a severe brain injury. After several operations and several months in a coma, her SD Worx team announced at the end of April that she was conscious again.

Her website says that although the former Dutch road champion is still not yet able to speak, she is starting to make “soft” sounds.

“Sometimes we suddenly hear a small word clearly escape from her mouth,” it says.

“She does not repeat this yet, but it’s so nice and hopeful to hear her familiar voice in this spontaneously uttered word.”

Since August, she has been treated at the Woerden rehabilitation centre in the Netherlands.

Pieters was a world champion both on the road, as part of the six-rider Dutch team winning the mixed relay in 2019, and on the track, where she took the madison three times in partnership with Kirsten Wild.