During today's stage 8 of the Giro d'Italia, a Spanish racing cyclist by the name of Pedro Horrilo lost control of his bike on the descent of the Culmine di San Pietro (Summit of St. Peter). The poor man went off the road and feel straight into a ravine. Doctors report he is in an induced coma and on a respirator, with multiple fractured ribs, fractured leg, a broken kneecap, a perforated lung and head trauma. The descent of the Culmine is a very technical one. According to paramedics, he fell more than 60 metres down the ravine before being airlifted by helicopter to a nearby hospital in Bergamo. The summit of St. Peter is a pass at 1258 m altitude in the municipality of Cassina Valsassina. In the past this crossing was used by shepherds in the Val Taleggio to conduct trade relations.
To see an example of what this rider may have faced, here's a video from another race last year.
I'm not terribly thrilled to know that mega bike races such as the Giro, for entertainment purposes or otherwise, have to design courses in such a way that riders face such life threatening situations. Pedro is 6ft tall, and sitting on a big bike like that high above the ground, the railings by the side of the road are too short to offer any protection. This is almost like going to war. There is no guarantee that you'll get back in one piece to your family.
So what is the limit for race organizers? When does it get a little bit too much to bear? Feel free to discuss.
Note : All Photos Courtesy Of Roberto Bettini.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
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