French rider Yoann Offredo assaulted while training
French rider Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) was attacked by two men with a boxcutter knife and baseball bat while training Monday, resulting in a fractured nose and bruising, he reported on his Facebook page.
The assault comes just two days after Italian Michele Scarponi (Astana) was killed by a motorist in a traffic accident near his hometown in Filottrano, Italy.
Offredo, 30, spent the entirety of his pro career with French outfit FDJ, from 2007-2016, before signing with the Belgian squad Wanty-Groupe Gobert for 2017-18. His results include top-1o finishes at Milan-San Remo, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and Paris-Tours. He finished 14th at both the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix this year.
“I was training with two colleagues in the Chevreuse Valley when a car raged very close past us,” Offredo said in a team statement. “Suddenly the driver braked with the intention of letting us crash. I wanted to talk to the driver, but she was ready to get out of the car with a cutter blade. In a reflex I blocked the door of the car. Then the passenger got out of the car and picked up a baseball bat. With that he hit me and afterwards he headbutted me.”
The Wanty-Groupe Gobert statement said that a police complaint was filed, adding that Offredo would be able to continue training for his next race, Four Days of Dunkirk, which starts May 9.
Father to a young daughter, Offredo said that he was more saddened than angered by the assault, which took place in France, writing that he would not want his children to ride, for fear of their safety.
“You leave for training in the morning, but you never know if you’re going [to come] home,” he wrote.
Following news of Scarponi’s death Saturday, Offredo had posted a tribute on his Facebook page. “Scarpo was a nice guy, the guy who always has a nice little word, this guy who saw him give you a smile. He was a [rider like me] who trains every day but never came back, victim as [far too many] of a road accident. He was also, and above all, a father of a family, leaving his family with sadness, merely by having wished to do his trade. Ciao Scarpo.”
Offredo’s full Facebook post following the assault is translated below.
I started cycling at the age of 12 with all the [carelessness] that goes with it. I was far from suspecting that this passion would give birth to a profession, that of a cyclist.
I was also far from suspecting that during my career I was going to meet magical people, who for some will leave far too soon.
I was also far from imagining that this trade would be so dangerous.
I was also far from imagining that my job would sometimes be at the peril of my life.
Today [I was] victim of an assault, based on a blade and baseball bat during a workout with two friends. Result: a fractured nose, a rib in a [bad state], and bruises all over the body, But beyond physical wounds, I am especially shocked.
I’m not angry, I’m just sad to find that this beautiful sport that I like, I did not want my kids to practice, it’s too dangerous.
You leave for training in the morning, but you never know if you’re going [to come] home.
Just sad to note, that in the country of human rights, the rights of cyclists are ignored.