‘I had a guardian angel holding a hand over me today’: Skjelmose overcomes a scary crash

Mattias crashes over a wall and into a ravine but rides back to a top 10 finish

It was a harrowing day for Mattias Skjelmose.  Stage 2 of Volta a Catalunya was stressful for most with the hills and crosswinds, but the young Dane also had to come back from a frightening crash.

“Me and Antwan (Tolhoek) were in a pretty good position just behind UAE on the downhill and then somebody made a braking mistake and unfortunately, I was on the outside, and on my outside there was a cliff where I ended.  Luckily, I did not hurt myself so bad, and I came pretty fast back on the bike and Antwan helped me back to the bunch,” explained Mattias.

What we all witnessed on our screens looked much more concerning.  On a downhill curve, around 58 kilometers from the finish, Mattias was thrown over a brick wall, plummeting some 10-15 feet into a ravine.

We all held our breath.

Then he appeared from below, holding his bike over his head.  “I’m okay, I’m okay,” he yelled, “just get me a new bike!”

Antwan went down in the same downhill corner. He heard in the radio that Mattias also had crashed but had no idea where his teammate was. “I wanted to look for my bike, but Mattias was somewhere – I didn’t know – so I walked to a safe place. And then Mattias came out of the ditch.”

A collective sigh could be heard around the cycling world.

Back on a fresh Emondas, Mattias and Antwan worked together to get back to the bunch.  After a handful of kilometers later, Mattias was back in the game. And when the crosswinds hit in the finale, Mattias was at the front, jersey torn, a bit bloody, but seemingly none the worse for wear.

“If there’s any good part about a crash, you’re hit with adrenaline and that’s probably the best painkiller you can have. I didn’t really feel anything. I think I had a guardian angel holding a hand over me today and protecting me because I feel fine.  In the end I had the same legs I had all day, so it was good. I was very lucky, that’s for sure,” he admitted.

In the sprint, he muscled his way into a good position and came home in 10th – and if you looked closely, a little angel was resting on his shoulder.