During the scratch race at the Junior and U23 European Track Championships in Ghent on Friday, a group of riders crashed into one another, wreaking havoc not just on the leaderboard, but also on the track itself. The incident lifted a piece of the wooden track off the ground, which found its way into the body of 17-year-old Italian cyclist Lorenzo Gobbo after he fell onto it.
The track piece cut Gobbo’s thigh, pierced into his side and punctured his lung. Gobbo was taken to a nearby hospital where a surgeon needed three hours to remove the foreign object safely.
“After the operation he is recovering well but stays in intensive care to prevent infections,” Frank Glorieux, chief executive of meet organisers Cycling Vlaanderen said to BBC Sport.
Warning: the following image shows a large piece of wood sticking out of a human’s body.
Here’s what the cyclist looked like after he got impaled:
Glorieux told CyclingNews that the teenager kept his sense of humor while in the hospital.
“[Gobbo] said he would have won rather than make the newspapers this way. He could still laugh, but he doesn’t want to ride on the track for the time being. He will have to find his courage. He should recover completely, but there is a long recovery time ahead for him.”
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened during a race on a wooden track. Back in 2011, a Malaysian cyclist’s calf was impaled with what was described as a “nine-inch long splinter,” which feels like a slight understatement.