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This is the dramatic moment a professional cyclist wins a sprint finish – only to smash into his wife seconds later as she took photos of him crossing the line first.
Luis Carlos Chia didn’t even have time to celebrate his triumph in the third stage of the annual cycling race the Vuelta a Colombia before the high-speed crash. TV commentators picked up on the collision immediately – but only found out afterwards the woman knocked out by the yellow jersey road racer was none other than Luis’s other half Claudia Roncancio.
Live footage showed her lying prostrate and apparently unconscious on the hard concrete behind the finish line as her injured husband was helped off his bike and limped away. The crash didn’t stop him continuing in his quest to win the prestigious event, first held in 1951 as an idea of Englishman Donald W Raskin and a few of his friends to emulate the famous Tour de France.
But Claudia, a cyclist-turned photographer who now travels with her husband and records his cycling successes, was taken to hospital. Overnight local reports said she remained under medical care on Monday, and had needed stitches to a head wound.
The couple have yet to comment on the surreal incident on their social media but Luis told a Colombian newspaper after the smash: “I wanted to brake but the bike didn’t respond. I hit my wife but it could have just as easily have been another person.”
Insisting Claudia hadn’t lost consciousness despite the TV images showing her appearing to have been KO’d, he added: “The doctors have checked her and more than anything it was the shock of it. She knew there was going to be a sprint finish and I don’t understand why she didn’t get out of the way.”
Colombian pro cyclist Egan Bernal cheated death earlier this year in a horrific collision with a bus during a training session. And he reacted to the incident by insisting safety always had to come first.
He wrote on social media: “It’s the Vuelta a Colombia and cyclists literally risk their lives to offer a show, but the safety of each and every one of them should always be guaranteed.”
Luis Carlos Chia’s third stage victory on Sunday was his second so far in this year’s race following his opening day win. He's riding for the Colnago CM Team.
- The Inside Track – Sport
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