Lorenzo Gobbi needed 200 stitches after operation to remove pieces of track

An Italian track cyclist competing in the European under-23 championships in Ghent is recovering in hospital after an operation to remove two huge splinters of the velodrome track after he crashed in the event in Ghent on Friday evening.

Lorenzo Gobbo, 16, sustained a punctured lung in the incident which happened while he was competing in the scratch race, and needed 200 stitches following his operation, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.

His father, Gianni Gobbo, told the newspaper: “Lorenzo crashed right by where I was, it was awful. Lorenzo’s getting better, he’s in intensive care, the doctors told us that he’ll need at least two weeks to recover.

“He was very brave and courageous, he was crying due to the pain when they had to remove the splinters that were protruding from his body, one 50 centimetres from the front, the other 30 centimetres from his back, but he never lost his head.”

Gobbo, a former professional cyclist, said that ex-team-mates including Gianni Bugno has sent him and his son messages of support.

He said that the crash was caused by a touch of wheels between two cyclists ahead of his son.

“A crash can happen, but boards of the velodrome shouldn’t detach themselves; that signifies that the track wasn’t suitable for a competition such as this.

“He has two nasty cuts, today he wasn’t very well,” he continued, “but he remains calm. After the operation he wanted his mobile phone so he could send some messages. Then he fell to pieces.”

According to Frank Glorieux, chief executive of Cycling Vlaanderen which organised the event, the pieces of track were dislodged by a pedal during the crash.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.