A cyclist in Spain who broke a long-distance cycling record also broke his collarbone moments after crossing the finish line thanks to an over-exuberant celebration by his wife’s uncle.
— MIKEL AZPARREN (@mikel_azparren) August 5, 2018
Mikel Azparren, a cycling coach from San Sebastian in Spain’s Basque Country, had set himself the challenge several years ago of riding the 751-kilometre medieval pilgrimage route of the Camino Francés [the French Way] from Roncesvalles in the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in less than 24 hours.
El Mundo reports that, on his latest tilt at the challenge, carried out last week, he managed it with minutes to spare, clocking a time of 23 hours 48 minutes and 43 seconds.
However, as video on the newspaper’s website shows, the moment he crossed the line, his wife’s uncle reached out to grab his arm and in so doing knocked him to the ground, resulting in a broken collarbone for the unfortunate cyclist.
"The person who tried to help me, my wife’s uncle, had good intentions, but the result was different,” Azparren said a couple of days later of the incident in Santiago de Compostela’s Plaza del Obradoiro which also left him with bruising to his right-hand side and an injury to his hip.
The 47-year-old had completed the route twice before, both times outside his sub-24 hour target, and had to abandon another attempt in recent weeks due to muscular pain.
On finally reaching his goal and with it a new record, he said: "It has been very satisfying to be able to achieve something that I have struggled to do for a long time.
“This year I trained and prepared a lot, the joy has been great and I was able to enjoy the last hour.
"The important thing was to do the traditional Camino de Santiago, going through the five provinces, because the French Way has a very strong emotional component," he continued.
He revealed that the idea of doing the challenge came when a fellow cyclist in the Basque Country had said “ ‘You are not capable of doing this’, and I said, Well, I can do it’, and that was the first time in 2013.
“Then I tried it in 2014, it went wrong, then in 2015 I achieved a time of 24 hours and 15 minutes, the closest yet, and now I’ve done it.”
According to his manager, Ana García, at the end of his record-breaking ride Azparren entered the Plaza del Obradoiro “like a bullet” where a crowd was waiting – including his wife’s uncle, with unhappy consequences.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.