Italy’s Andrea Vendrame has reported a vehicle driver to Italian police after being punched in a road rage incident while out training.
The AG2R La Mondiale rider was not injured but revealed the incident to his local newspaper in the north of the Veneto region.
According to the Gazzettino newspaper and subsequently via other Italian media, Vendrame was hit on the same side of his face that was injured in 2016 when a car cut across his path. He suffered deep cuts and scars after going through the car’s window and still has shards of glass in his neck four years after needing 60 internal stitches and 50 external stitches.
He was understandably shocked by the latest incident.
“I was riding towards Conegliano to head into the hills at about 10:00am. I was inside the white line when a car passed me really close at high speed. Then the driver suddenly hit the brakes, got out and threw a punch at me as I passed,” Vendrame explained.
“I was caught by surprise but I managed to brake and so didn’t fall off. I also managed to get out my phone and take a photograph of the vehicle’s number plate after it did a U-turn and almost caused an accident.
“I then went to the ER unit of my local hospital to be treated by the doctor who followed me after my serious accident in 2016. I’m going to go to the police to report the driver in the hope they can identify them.”
Vendrame made an appeal for witnesses.
"If someone saw this crazy gesture by a 40-year-old with a local Veneto accent that was driving a Volvo, I ask them to come forward," he said.
“I can only ask all the other drivers to treat cyclists safely: the road belongs to everyone and we deserve respect."
Vendrame joined AG2R La Mondiale in 2019 after three seasons at Androni Giocattoli. In 2019, he won a stage at the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe and the Tro-Bro Leon race held on the dirt roads of western France. He rode the Giro d’Italia this year and was fourth at the Trofeo Laigueglia and Paris-Camembert.
He will be part of the AG2R Citroën team in 2021, riding alongside Greg Van Avermaet and Oliver Naesen and has recently extended his contract with the French team until the end of 2023.
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