History repeats itself as German cyclist underestimates harshness of Russian winter
…He didn't think it would be so cold
In the movie Chasing Legends, one HTC-Columbia rider – Tony Martin or Bernie Eisel we imagine – reflects off-camera that a particularly gruelling day in the saddle was like a “holiday in Stalingrad,” site of the battle in 1942-3 which proved to be a turning point in the Second World War as the Red Army and freezing conditions combined to halt the Wehrmacht.
It seems that not all German cyclists share that healthy respect for the Russian winter, however, with one unfortunate soul ending up in hospital this week after attempting to ride 300km across the frozen steppes of Siberia.
German mechanic Sven Riedel, aged 37, had been trying to cycle from Ulan-Ude to Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia but badly misjudged the harshness of the conditions, with overnight temperatures plummeting to more than -34C.
"I wanted to see Lake Baikal," he told Russia's RIA Novosti news agency, according to a UPI report. "I didn't think it would be so cold."
Luckily for Riedel, who speaks no Russian, a passing driver managed to persuade him to abandon his tent and get in the car to be driven to hospital.
Riedel had previously ridden in Scandinavia during winter, but Russian officials said that attempting to do so in Siberia was another matter altogether.