Sonny Cobrelli, the winner of the 2021 Paris-Roubaix and one of cycling’s stars, was forced to retire this season due to issues with his heart. His 2022 season was cut short due to a collapse at the Volta a Catalunya when he he suffered a cardiac arrhythmia and cardiac arrest which sent him to hospital after he finished second in stage one.
Shortly thereafter, Cobrelli was given a subcutaneous implantable defibrillator to reset his heart rhythm in case he had another heart attack. That meant he could not ride at the high intensity of cycling. Although he continues to ride his bike, it’s no longer safe for his health to ride hard, which means he cannot continue as a pro athlete.
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At the age of 32, he would still have a few years left in his career but as a result of his health issues, Team Bahrain Victorious rider announced his retirement in September.
“A year ago in this period, I spent my days celebrating the most important victory of my career, Paris-Roubaix. I never thought I would find myself a year later to face one of the most challenging moments that life has put me in front of. But it’s my life that I want to be grateful for, a life I risked losing and which gave me a second chance,” the European road champion said. “That of being here today, to remember that I came out of the Hell of the North as a winner, and I did it in a legendary way, which will remain in history and that I will be able to continue to tell my children. It is to them, my family and all the people closest to me that I owe this new life of mine. From them, I am drawing the strength to accept this moment of my sporting career that sees me here today to give up being able to add to my palmares a victory in a Grand Tour or Flanders, a lifelong dream.”
On Monday, the Italian posted a photo of a tattoo on his left arm celebrating his career. “In this tattoo made by the artist Stefano Scifoni at the beautiful Hotel Funivia Bormio there is designed everything about my life..first of all the bike, passion that I had to give up,then the Arenberg forest which is the most famous and hardest cobble sector of Paris-Roubaix my biggest win of ever and Vittoria with Tomaso on my shoulder, my force and my life. Everything means that all the dreams are made to be realized.”
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