In a video posted by training partner Rick Zabel (Israel Start-up Nation), Mathis is seen coming within inches of oncoming traffic as he negotiates his way through a blind corner on the descent. As the car approaches in the apex of the sweeping right-hand bend, Mathis can be seen adjusting his line to avoid contact. The 25-year-old German then checks behind as Zabel follows.
Zabel posted the video to Instagram on January 4 with a short message that he was enjoying some downhill training with friends. "Don't try this at home," Zabel added.
In Mathis' apology, posted to the Cofidis team's Twitter account Tuesday but not to his own, the rider explained the circumstances of the pass.
"In a right corner I used my hole (sic) space on the road," Mathis wrote. "In this moment it looked closer than it was. But I want to say sorry to the driver of the car witch (sic) may have been frightened. And I want to recommend you to don't take to (sic) much risk in training. So enjoy your next ride."
Neither rider identified the area where they were training when the incident occurred.
The safety message, promoted and likely requested by the team, falls in line with the marketing goals of their sponsor, Cofidis Credit Solutions, to differentiate Cofidis from other payday loan companies by portraying the French brand as a responsible lending institution.
Mathis, the 2016 U23 time trial world champion, rode with his German compatriot Zabel for two seasons on Katusha-Alpecin before moving over to Cofidis last season. Zabel moved from Katusha to Israel Start-Up Nation this year when the team took over Katusha's WorldTour license.
Before signing with Katusha in 2017, Mathis rode with the German Continental team Rad-Net Rose for four seasons.
🗣️ Réponse de @MarcoMathis sur Instagram suite à la vidéo de son entraînement personnel posté dimanche par Rick Zabel. #RideSafe#CofidisMyTeam pic.twitter.com/ZLm7HO7zMWJanuary 7, 2020
A photo posted by @rickzabel on Jan 3, 2020 at 9:27am PST
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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.
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