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Sports director killed at Italian bike race after crash in sprint

Stefano Martolini is said to have died instantly after striking his head; condition of the rider who hit him also serious

The sports director of an Italian cycling team was killed yesterday after he was hit by a rider following a crash during the sprint at the end of a bike race.

Stefano Martolini, sports director of the Viris Vigevano team, had been watching the conclusion of the Trofeo Castelfidardo race in central Italy’s Marche region from a pavement alongside the road when the crash happened.

News website l’Informatore Vigevanese reports that nothing could be done to save the life of the 41 year old.

According to the newspaper, Martolini was hit by a bicycle ridden by 23 year old Nicola Venchiarutti of the Padova-based Work Service team.

It is believed that Venchiarutti may have lost control of his bike when he came into contact with another rider around 400 metres from the line, on a straight section of road, with the cylcists travelling at around 60 kilometres an hour.

The sports director fell backwards upon impact, with his head striking the ground and death said to be almost instantaneous.

Venchiarutti also suffered serious injuries in the crash and was taken by air ambulance to hospital in Ancona with two fractured dorsal vertebrae.

He subsequently underwent an operation and is said to be comfortable and responding well to treatment, giving rise to hope he has not sustained permanent damage.

Martolini – described by Italy’s national governing body, Federciclismo, as a “passionate” sports director both on the road and the track, had attended the 10-lap elite amateur and under-23 category race with four riders from his club, which is based in the city of Vigevano around 30 kilometres south west of Milan.

In a statement, the Work Service expressed its condolences to Martolini’s family and friends following what it described as a “tragic accident.”

Federciclismo, which also announced that a participant in this weekend’s Nove Colli event had died after going into cardiac arrest, said that both it “and the whole world of cycling embrace the families of the victims and express support for Nicola Venchiarutti, wishing him that he may return as soon as possible to the affection of his loved ones and team mates.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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