The 2002 world road race champion Mario Cipollini has been hospitalised after being involved in a training accident and is set to face surgery to treat the damage.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport the retired rider, who was the world’s top sprinter for many years, was taken to hospital in Lucca after a car hit him while he was on his bike. The driver was turning and didn’t see the rider, who reportedly has injuries to his knee and the quadriceps tendon.

He is expected to be operated on to treat the issue.

Cipollini was world road race champion in 2003 and won almost 200 pro races in the course of a seventeen year pro career Those victories include 42 stages in the Giro d’Italia, twelve in the Tour de France and three in the Vuelta a Espana, as well as three editions of Gent Wevelgem, one of Milan-Samremo and the Italian road race championships.

He retired prior to the 2005 Giro, going out with flair when he received permission from the organisers to ride the prologue as a farewell to his fans. He wore a skinsuit bearing the locations of his 42 stage wins.

Cipollini briefly returned to the sport with the Rock Racing team in 2008, riding the Tour of California with the Rock Racing team and taking third on a stage. He retired again after disagreements with the team owner Michael Ball, but has kept in shape since.