Eritrean cyclist Mekseb Debesay rescued by fan after losing way in Belgium race
Mekseb Debesay of Dimension Data arrived back at the team hotel 15 hours after setting off on the first cobblestone classic of the year. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Eritrea’s Mekseb Debesay will not forget his first WorldTour race after getting lost on Belgium’s back roads and being rescued by a member of the public who offered him food and a shower.
Debesay, who rides for African-based Dimension Data, became lost while riding the 206km E3 Harelbeke, the first cobblestone classic of the year, arriving back at the team hotel 15 hours after setting out and covering 240km.
“It’s an amazing story,” team sports director Pierre Heynderickx told the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper. “He fell behind a small group that decided to take back roads to Harelbeke around 20 kilometres from the finish.
“Debesay was afraid of becoming lost and decided to follow the course arrows to get to the finish. Unfortunately, he wandered from the correct path.”
When Debesay, 24, looked down at his bicycle computer and saw 206km he realised he was in trouble and asked a member of the public how to get to the finish.
“That man suggested they should go together to his home in Lierde,” Heynderickx, who called the police to find out if there had been any news of Debesay. “He let him take a shower, gave him fresh clothes and offered food to our hungry rider. No one had any idea where he was. Then, suddenly, we received a phone call.”
The race was won by Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski.
Eritrean cyclist Mekseb Debesay rescued by fan after losing way in Belgium race Reviewed by Admin on 12:53 AM Rating: