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Italian cyclist, 16, recovering after being impaled on two huge track splinters

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.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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