Belgian racer Enzo Wouters had a scare during the UCI Road World Championships, after racing for three and a quarter hours in the hot desert sun in the under-23 road race in Doha, Qatar. The 20-year-old finished three minutes behind winner Krisoffer Halvorsen (Norway) and then collapsed after the 166km race with an apparent heat stroke.
Temperatures in the afternoon event soared to 36 degrees centigrade, but fell short of the extreme conditions that would have caused the UCI to shorten the race.
According to Sporza, Wouters' core temperature rose to 40 degrees centigrade, near the limit of what the race doctors say results in heat stroke, where the body loses its ability to cool itself.
He recovered after an ice bath and some intravenous fluids, but said he has little memory of the incident.
"Immediately after the finish they poured water over me and placed ice on me, even though I was already shivering," Wouters joked. "Anyway, I can't remember anything that happened after the finish."
Wouters' teammate, Guillaume Seye, stayed with him until the finish, and then held him as medics attended to him.
"During the race I felt myself becoming weaker. Especially in the final, I just noticed that I could no longer keep my heart rate down. Normally, you can always recover a bit after the turns, but now it did not."
The extreme heat in the region led the UCI to hold the championships later in the year than normal, but temperatures have continued to be a concern. The UCI has promised to shorten races if the conditions become a threat to the riders' health.
After the women's team time trial on Sunday, some riders were critical of the race.
The under-23 riders are due to return to Belgium tonight.