Italy’s rising star Samuele Manfredi – junior winner of Ghent-Wevelgem, second in Paris-Roubaix and European pursuit champion – is in hospital following a “serious head trauma” from a collision with a car while training.
Doctors medically-induced a coma after he collided with a car while he prepared for the upcoming season near his home in Loano on Monday. According to Tutto Bici, his condition improved from critical to stable on Tuesday morning.
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French WorldTour team Groupama-FDJ announced the news on Monday. The 18-year-old is due to ride with their Continental feeder team in 2019.
He is being treated at the Pietra Ligure hospital, a short distance from the incident and east down the Ligurian coast from where Milan-San Remo ends each spring.
La Gazzetta dello Sport reported a “serious head trauma.” He spent the night in critical condition.
The incident occurred in Toirano on Monday morning when he was six kilometres from home. Early reports say a driver behind the wheel of Fiat Panda accelerated from a stop without realising Manfredi was passing.
“It was a very violent impact,” said the report.
Manfredi – 6-foot-2 and 80kg – went on a long 110km escape and conquered his two rivals to win Ghent-Wevelgem this spring. In Wevelgem, he celebrated on the podium with professional star Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).
He followed it with second in the junior Paris-Roubaix and the individual pursuit title at the Junior European Championships.
His is the second such incident in two days in Italy. Paolo Simon (Bardiani-CSF) had to be air-lifted after an incident in Treviso. Doctors cleared him of head injuries and he left the hospital on Monday, one day later.
Italy’s national coach said: “Every day, I read about cyclists being hit by cars. That’s enough, we can’t go on like this.”
Aci/Istat’s data for 2017 counted 254 cyclists killed due to road incidents in the year.