Italian pro assaulted by driver while training

The Ag2r La Mondiale rider was hit in the face before the driver fled the scene  

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

An Italian pro has been assaulted by a driver while out training. 

Andrea Vendrame, who races for Ag2r La Mondiale, was riding in Treviso, Italy when a driver stopped his vehicle and punched the rider in the face before fleeing the scene. 

The 26-year-old told Italian newspaper Il Gazzettino that he would be reporting the incident, which happened on Monday, December 21, to police. 

Vendrame, a former Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec rider, said: “I was driving in San Lucia near from Conegliano, when a car suddenly appeared, the driver got out of the car and hit me in the face. I didn't know how to react, but after a few seconds I took pictures on my phone and I will take them to the police.”

Vendrame went to hospital after the attack, but isn’t believed to have suffered serious injuries. 

It was not Vendrame’s first brush with a driver, after he was seriously injured back in 2016 when he was hit by car and his head went through the window. 

Since then he has had a scars on his face and says he has always had a beard to cover up the marks. 

Pro riders often suffer near-misses and injuries while training out on the roads, with many athletes raising concerns about road safety.

Earlier this year, Cofidis’ Elia Viviani said nothing had changed on Italian roads after the coronavirus lockdown. 

If we hoped that motorists had changed in terms of [their] respect for us…it is a lost cause,” Elia Viviani told Gazzetta dello Sport. “On the road, everything is as before the lockdown and the danger has not diminished. Nothing has changed.”

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American track cyclist Mandy Marquardt also revealed she had been passed too closely and beeped at by multiple vehicles in Pennsylvania, calling the incident “terrifying” and “harassment”, pointing out both motorists had broken state law with their actions. 

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.