A 17-year-old track cyclist suffered a gruesome injury during a track race in Belgium on Friday. Lorenzo Gobbo was competing in the scratch race at the Junior and U23 European Track Championships when a number of riders went down in a crash. As riders and their bikes careened off the wooden boards, a pedal smashed into one of the planks lifting a half-metre long splinter into the air that impaled the young riders back puncturing his lung before exiting his torso.

Gobbo was rushed to the Jan Palfijn Hospital following the freak accidents. He underwent a three-hour surgery to remove the splinter and is expected to make a full recovery.

“I just visited him again,” said director of the Wielerbond Vlaanderen team Frank Glorieux to Sporza. “He is in intensive care. He has not had the best night, but he has no fever and is progressing well. There is a chance that he may go to a normal room tomorrow.”

The young rider was in good spirits despite the frightening crash, able to see the incident in a more humorous light once the splinter had been removed. He did indicate that he won’t be rushing back to track racing once he’s recovered.

“He said he would have won rather than make the newspapers this way,” Glorieux said. “He could still laugh, but he doesn’t want to ride on the track for the time being. He will have to find his courage. He should recover completely, but there is a long recovery time ahead for him.

Horrific splinters are not unheard of in track racing. The boards made from Siberian pine can be very dangerous in certain crashes. Malaysian cyclist Aziz Awang’s calf was impaled by a splinter at a race in 2011.

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