Pedro Horrillo – the Rabobank rider who fell 180 feet into a ravine during the Giro d’Italia in May – recently returned to the scene of his horrific crash.
Horrillo traveled to Bergamo to meet with doctors who treated him following his spill and then drove up to the ravine at the Culmine di San Pietro to revisit the crash site.
“That day I started my second life,” Horrillo told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ve been born two times. The first, on September 27 in 1974, and a second time when I crashed against those rocks. I went to the place and it’s incredible that I am still alive. It overwhelmed me to see it. I feel like a cat with seven lives.”
Horrillo, 35, was tremendously lucky to survive a 180-foot fall into a ravine during stage 8 in the mountains of northern Italy. Horrillo cannot recall what caused the accident; others simply found his bike alongside the road, but no sign of him.
It took searchers 20 minutes just to locate him, somehow still alive in a deep ravine after flying over a guard-rail. He suffered horrific injuries, including a broken femur, kneecap and vertebra as well as a punctured lung. It took another hour before rescuers could lift him out of the ravine and transport him to a regional hospital.
Rabobank doctors said it was Horrillo’s large musculature that likely saved his life. Incredibly, he suffered no signs of brain injury and despite spending more than five weeks in a hospital, has been on the slow road to recovery.
Whether that means he can return to the pro ranks remains to be seen.
“I have recovered 100 percent movement of my leg,” he said, adding that he still hasn’t decided on whether he will try to make a professional comeback.
Local Italian authorities held a gala to celebrate Horrillo’s return to health. He had the chance to personally thank the rescuers and medical staff for their efforts.