Giro d'Italia: 5 accidents that shocked the world of cycling

Cyclists are also prone to mishaps in high-performance competitions. On this occasion, we remember 5 accidents that caused a stir in the history of the Giro d'Italia .

88th Giro d'Italia 2005 - 10th stage, Ravenna-Rossano Veneto

Photo: Wikiemdia-Luukas

LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González

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Leer en español: Giro de Italia: 5 accidentes que impactaron el mundo del ciclismo

Every time the month of May begins, Italy comes to a standstill. The reason has nothing to do with the final stretch of their football tournament, but more precisely because the Giro d'Italia is being held, one of the most important competitions in the world of cycling. Since its creation in 1909, the three weeks of duration capture the attention of the entire country and beyond its borders, since this sport also has a high percentage of audience in Latin America, a region that has two champion countries.

However, and as in all sports, not everything is joy and celebration. Being a high-performance competition, dangers and mishaps are the order of the day. Although security protocols have been improved over the years, it is very difficult to predict when a mishap will occur. In fact, the current 2022 edition of the Giro d'Italia has already left several scares, but this time we will focus on 5 accidents that shocked the world and marked the history of this world cycling event.

A deadly curve

It was just the first stage of the 1976 Giro d'Italia when mourning completely covered the competition. The race was held in Acireale, Sicily, and featured four Spanish cyclists, who tried to close the gap on the main pack after solving a problem with a tire. There, Juan Manuel Santisteban, leader of the KAS team, lost control of his bicycle while going down a curve, resulting in his being thrown off the road.

The Spaniard violently rolled on the ground and ended up crashing into a metal shield , which caused a break in the base of his skull. But although medical assistance was immediate, Santisteban died instantly as a result of a stroke, according to official spokesmen. Despite the tragic accident, the team chose not to withdraw from the tournament and continued in tribute form.

From the party in the streets to the tragedy

Stage 17 of the 1986 Giro d'Italia is sadly remembered for what became Emilio Ravasio's last race. Everything progressed smoothly on the route that covered the cities of Palermo and Sciacca Terme, but just 10 meters from the finish line, an accident occurred that did not happen to majors at that time. Several cyclists collide with each other and among them is Ravasio, who hits his head on the sidewalk although that did not stop him from getting up and continuing with the ride.

Exactly seven minutes after the big peloton arrived, the Italian cyclist reached the finish line, so he headed back to his caravan to freshen up and get ready to go to the hotel. Once there, Ravasio began to feel bad and after fainting he was taken to the hospital , where he had to undergo surgery on his skull. His condition worsened and 15 days after the fall he lost his life.

Also read: Giro d'Italia Donne: These are the Most Important Races for Women Cyclists

The "harmless" Passo di Bocco

The forecasts indicated that the 173 km route between the city of Reggio Emilia and the commune of Rapallo was going to be calm. This was the third stage of the 2011 Giro d'Italia and in it there was only one specific place that had to be traveled with caution: the Passo di Bocco. It is a descent located 25 km from the final goal and that many cyclists consider as a harmless step. However, for Wouter Weylandt it was not like that.

While the Belgian cyclist was descending the place, he had a problem with one of his pedals that led him to lose control of his bicycle , which caused him to subsequently crash into a stone wall and hit his skull on the pavement. The impact was so violent that it left him unconscious on the road, and despite receiving medical attention and trying to be revived for more than 40 minutes, Weylandt arrived at the Genoa hospital without vital signs.

Another third stage to oblivion

Only four years had passed since the death of Wouter Weylandt when a new accident left moments of anguish in the spectators. It was precisely the third stage of the Giro d'Italia, this time in 2015, and what seemed like a perfect day for cycling turned into a gray day. With 28 km to go to reach the finish line, the descent of the Barbagelata pass was the scene of a crash that, fortunately, did not escalate.

Domenico Pozzovivo was passing down the road when the front wheel of his bike skidded around the bend, causing him to crash down and hit his face on the ground. The Italian cyclist remained motionless as other runners, motorcycles and cars passed him by a few centimeters. After being taken to the Genoa hospital, tests indicated that he had not suffered any intracranial injury. In an interview days later, Pozzovivo said that perhaps his accident had been caused by a "stone" on the road.

The helmet that saved his life

Those who follow the Giro d'Italia in detail must clearly remember the accident that Matej Mohoric starred in 2021. That day the ninth stage was run, which ended up being won by the Colombian Egan Bernal, but which was overshadowed by the serious incident experienced by the Slovenian cyclist during a descent in the Sterrato de Campo Felice. And it is that the fall was so chilling that it perplexed runners and fans.

The descent did not suppose any danger, but in places like this it is where more attention must be paid to the route. Within seconds, Mohoric went headfirst into the ground before crashing into a metal barrier, ripping his bike in two pieces . Some time after being treated by doctors, his team reported that he had suffered a concussion and several injuries. In addition, the cyclist himself confessed that both his bike and his helmet saved his life.