Germany’s Arnold Fiek of the Christina Jewelry team sustained a hairline fracture to his hip and several bruises but felt he was lucky to be alive after crashing and falling 12 metres into Lake Lugano during the rain-soaked GP Lugano race on Sunday. Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) went on to win the race but his teammate Eduardo Zardini also crashed out and fractured four vertebrae.
A photograph shows Fiek giving a thumbs up from the hospital and he hopes to be back on his bike in six weeks.
Fiek crashed early in the race, apparently sliding out on a corner, hitting a kerb and then falling into the lake. He was fortunate to land in the water and then clambered up onto a narrow concrete strip so he could be seen and eventually rescued by boat.
Photos posted by his team on Facebook show the dramatic moments after the crash, with Fiek stuck on a narrow concrete wall as he waited to be rescued and taken to hospital.
“The road was slippery and I crashed in a right-hand curve,” 22-year-old Fiek told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper from his hospital room in Lugano. “I tried to grab on to the guardrail, but I was unable to do so. I banged my hip against the wall and fell into the water. I swam for about five metres and then climbed up onto the wall to wait for the rescue boat.”
“I never lost consciousness. I was very, very lucky, had I fallen on my head it would not have been so good. In that first moment in the water, I thought, ‘It’s ending.’ You don’t know. Then I swam to the edge, got out of the water and it was not so bad. But then when I was on the wall, I couldn’t move. Fortunately it wasn’t so bad. I think I had a lucky day.”
His Christina Jewelry team suggested he had been lucky to escape a ‘nightmare’ crash.
“It’s hard to believe but he has never been unconscious, except a wet kit and an extraordinary story,” the team wrote on its Facebook page.
“The diagnosis revealed that a small crack in his hip was found – along with some bruises. We are not sure yet when he will be back on track. At least we can tell you that he is ok and luckily survived a nightmare. We all wish him a speedy recovery!!