Giovanni Visconti says he was lucky to arrive at the Giro d’Italia finish line in Matera on his bike after narrowly avoiding having his foot impaled in a freak accident on stage six.
The Italian, who’s riding for Vini Zabù – KTM at the Italian Grand Tour, posted a picture after the stage recreating what had happened out on the road, poking a hex key through the hole in his shoe, which had been torn by a piece of iron “with a diameter of 0.5cm and at least 20cm long”.
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“Can I say that I am lucky to have arrived in Matera on my own legs?” Visconti said after the finish. “A fright that fortunately remained only that.”
The 37-year-old says he doesn’t know exactly how he suddenly found himself riding with a piece of metal stuck through his shoe, but that it happened when he was descending at 60km/h.
“I’ve reproduced, with a hex key, my misadventure today at more than 60km/h downhill…just to make you understand what happened to me and how lucky I was.
“See you tomorrow, hoping that the black cloud that hangs over the Vini Zabù – KTM will be blown away by the wind.”
Visconti’s team-mates, Luca Wackermann and Etienne van Empel, were both taken out inside the last kilometre of stage four after a helicopter blew a barrier onto the course.
Wackermann was forced to abandon after suffering a head injury, a fracture to his nasal bones, multiple contusions to the face and spine, and lacerations to the left eyebrow, chin and right knee.
Geraint Thomas was also caught up in an unlucky crash, slipping on a bidon while passing through the neutralised start of stage three.
On that day when the Giro d’Italia finished up Mount Etna, Visconti finished second behind EF Pro Cycling’s Jonathan Caicedo.
Just before the final 10km, Visconti had asked for a bottle from his team car, but his vehicle couldn’t get to him before the banner, after which riders aren’t allowed to take on bidons.
Frustrated, Visconti’s sports director, Luca Scinto, then throws the bottle on the floor, just before Caicedo drops the Italian and rides away to the stage victory.
“The rider calls you saying he needs water…there was no space to pass it before we were under 10km so I ask if I can give him water, judge says no,” Scinto explained.