[📷: Alex Broadway/ SWpix.com]
Sonny Colbrelli has retired at the end of a season which saw him diagnosed with an unstable cardiac arrhythmia. The Italian — who won Paris-Roubaix and the European road race title in 2020 — collapsed after the finish of the opening stage of Volta a Catalunya in March, and has not raced since.
[📷: A.S.O/Pauline Ballet]
The 32-year-old was fitted with a subcutaneous defibrillator implant (ICD), the same device Danish footballer Christian Eriksen got after his frightening collapse at Euro 2020. While Eriksen has returned to the Premier League with Brentford, and now Manchester United, Colbrelli says cycling "is a different sport" and returning to racing is "a risk I cannot afford to take".
"I say goodbye to cycling and try to do it with a smile for the good it gave me, even if it hurts to say goodbye after a season like last year," Colbrelli said.
"Cycling is not football. It is a different sport; you ride on the streets. Their training activities take place in a limited area, while in the case of a cyclist, you often find yourself alone for hours on little-travelled roads.
"I admit I considered it [removing the ICD and returning to competition]. Removing the defibrillator is against the medical practice and means removing a lifesaver that is necessary as secondary prevention. A risk too high. A risk that I cannot afford to take.
"I'm ready to keep trying to be a champion, like on the bike."