Spanish cyclist Mikel Nieve has been rushed to hospital after being involved a horrendous crash to bring the curtain down on his career in Italy. The 38-year-old crashed out of his last race as a professional rider on Saturday and was left unable to continue the course, although he was conscious following the incident in the Il Lombardia event.
Footage broadcast on live TV appears to show the two cyclists, Nieve and the Italian rider Lorenzo Fortunato, lying on the road in agony after coming off their bicycles during the ascent to Forcella di Bura.
Nieve and Fortunato both hit the floor, with the former rushed to hospital with a suspected broken collarbone, according to his team. Mundo Deportivo report the pair were some 96.9 miles away (156 km) from the finish line when the incident occurred by the metal railings.
The Basque rider may well be grateful that he survived such a nasty clash, but there will be some disappointment from the climber after bringing his 15-year career to an end by failing to finish the race.
Following in the footsteps of Vincenzo Nibali, Alejandro Valverde and Tanel Kangert, Nieve was hoping to bow out on a high. Instead, it appears likely he will face some time in hospital recovering from his injuries sustained during the race in Italy.
Nieve only had five wins across his career but rose to prominence for his ability to win the toughest races on mountainous terrain, winning three of the five at the Giro d’Italia, in addition to the Vuelta a Espana and Criterium du Dauphine as well.
He spent the majority of his career racing with the Euskaltel – Euskadi team, where he made his name as an internationally-renowned cyclist. He also played a key role for Team Sky during the team’s golden period of success in cycling, although Nieve is perhaps lesser known than some of his colleagues.
Nieve announcement his decision to step away from the sport back in August with an emotional statement, revealing he plans to enjoy “other experiences”.
“It has been a privilege to be part of a platoon of great cyclists and people who make up the entire world of cycling…” he wrote on social media.
“There are many people I want to thank for all these years: family, friends, teammates, all the staff I shared with the team, fans, organisers and all the people who helped me in everything of these years. But I would like to thank my father, who I miss a lot, and my mother, who gave me everything throughout my life.
“Also to my brother, who always supports and helps me, and my son Danel. They were unforgettable years, I learned a lot and enjoyed being a cyclist, but the time has come to end this phase and start living other experiences.”