Oscar Sevilla is recovering from an attack that left him with a broken arm, two broken ribs, and a bit of hesitation to get back on the bike. Police have retrieved his stolen bicycle, and have identified the suspects, but the encounter has shaken the 41-year-old.
"I'm fine, able to tell my story and that's something in itself. I have a broken radius and ulna, two broken ribs, but I'm alive, which is no small thing," Sevilla said, according to AS.com. He had surgery to repair fractures to his arm.
The Spaniard, who has lived in Colombia with his wife and daughters for nine years, had just left for a training ride when the attack happened last week.
"I left my house, in a relatively safe area of Bogotá, and after a kilometre I was assaulted at a corner by five or six people with sticks, knives," Sevilla said. "They hit me with a stick and they pulled at my bike, they started hitting me, attacking me. I asked them not to hurt me and just take my bike, my helmet, shoes, glasses.
"I was afraid of the knives, but luckily it was all very brief and they left when the neighbors began to shout. My hand was bent backwards and there was a blow to my ribs, they did not give me time to talk, I think my arm was broken with a stick, I do not know if I was lying on the ground, but [my wrist] was bent over backwards, it was horrible."
Sevilla said the police identified the assailants as a gang that had committed similar crimes and that they have been chasing for months.
The police recovered Sevilla's Medellin-Inder team bike in a parking lot south of Bogotá, but they have not yet returned it to him.
Surveillance cameras captured a man with Sevilla's bicycle and helmet leaving the bike in the lot where it was recovered.
Sevilla, who left the European peloton after the 2006 Operacion Puerto scandal, has continued to have a successful career racing on South American teams since 2011.
He was second overall in the Vuelta a San Juan earlier this year. But he confessed that from now on he will be hesitant to go train.
"I am going to be scared of going out on my bike. Up until now, nothing had ever happened to me, neither robbery, nor assaults, but yesterday it happened to me in the place I least expected. I even told my wife that I didn't know if I'd go on racing. I'm close to retirement but the bike will go on being my life."