We can imagine the first thought: "Where are they? What happened?". Then, slowly, you start to preceive the thin shape of a stretcher, the siren of an ambulance, the voices of the emergency intervention team inviting you to stay calm. And not move! It is at that point that you, Alessandro Manetti from Forlì, twice world champion in your career, a memorable one of which was won in Argentina, understand everything.
You understand that you have been run over by a car during your usual bike training. The training that is a necessity for you, as if it were a potion for longevity, and not just a way to keep you fit for the next race. This time, however, it went wrong. Because there was a strong frontal collision with a vehicle which threw you to the ground, leaving its marks: heavy bruising all over the left side of your body; a compression of the cervical vertebrae; the crushing of the sternum and strong pain in your left shoulder. When you move, your shoulder moves, so it is not broken. But it hurts. Too much pain.
The worst pain, however, is not physical, but something that medical staff cannot heal. The feeling that closes up your stomach and feels like a knife stuck in your chest is the fact that there are only a few hours left (the unfortunate accident happened on Tuesday) at the start of the long weekend that involving the first two finals of the 2007 European Championship. An important race for those who, like you, at 35 years of age know that there are certainly fewer races left to run than those that have already finished.