retreats, carried away in his arms –

by Marco Bonarrigo

The Danish Mattias Skjelmose, one of the strongest long-distance runners in the world, suffered the onset of frostbite: he had to be physically transported. Only 40 reached the finish line in prohibitive conditions at the Freccia Vallone

A situation with very few precedents in a cycling race and documented only by a spectator’s mobile phone: on Wednesday in the final stretch of the Flemish Walloon Fleece, the Flemish super classic, the Danish Lidl-Trek rider Mattias Skjelmose, 23 years old, 2nd in 2023, a great talent , was struck by a major hypothermic attack on a day of cold and pouring rain.

Mattias was shaking so badly that he couldn’t even get off the bike: one of the team’s masseurs wrapped him in a blanket, picked him up and dragged him into the flagship without the boy ever stopping having convulsions. Impressive images.

A clear temperature inversion in Northern Europe compared to the Amstel of the previous Sunday caused a critical situation in a test with often difficult weather but never more so than in this case. The former Polish world champion Mikal Kwiatkowski declared that «if you want to understand what shock my body went through during the Arrow storm, imagine swallowing three shots of vodka on an empty stomach. The blow arrives after a few milliseconds. Yet someone managed to survive and deserves my great respect.”

Never in the history of the Freccia Wallone had the race been so decimated by retirements: among the men, only 44 of the 175 starters crossed the finish line. Only one team (not surprisingly made up entirely of Norwegian athletes who train in their homeland in the winter), Uno-X, brought all the runners to the finish line, others like the famous Ineos instead saw all their members climb into the flagship .

In the evening Mattias Skjelmose reassured about his health conditions by explaining that he will be at the start of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday. In his case, as in that of many other runners, his skeletal physique played a role in the mishap (the boy is 1.80 meters tall and weighs just over 60 kilos) which in such conditions is certainly not an advantage .

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April 18, 2024 (modified April 18, 2024 | 1.37pm)

2024-04-18 11:38:14
#retreats #carried #arms


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