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An amateur cyclist in Argentina had to be taken to hospital to have thousands of spikes pulled from his body after hitting a pothole in a pack and plunging into a giant prickly plant in a crash that left him struggling to walk.

Locals tried to pull parts of the pile of cacti out of Diego Moreno’s skin after the cyclist flew into the thorns during a race in Buenos Aires, risking his sight as he hurtled off the road.

He needed urgent hospital treatment but escaped life-threatening injuries after failing to spot what he described as a “crater” in a freak accident that was caught on camera.

“We were in a group of three cyclists,” shaken Moreno is said to have told local media.

He had a bicycle wreck into a bunch of cacti… pic.twitter.com/LoubENpcRo

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“I was the last one in line. I didn’t see a hole in the asphalt and I fell into it.

“Thank god I was wearing a helmet and glasses and I didn’t hurt my face and head. Because of the thorns, I could have gone blind.”

More than 1.4 million people watched one version of a video showing Moreno gingerly stepping off the kerb while a group unsuccessfully tried to remove clumps of the cacti from his statuesque limbs.

“I backed into one of those playing golf in the desert a few years ago,” said one sympathetic viewer on Twitter.

That has to be so painful

Oh man. I backed into one of those playing golf in the desert a few years ago. Got me right in the arss. Sadly each quill has a barbed hook. This guy got torn up when it was all removed 😩

A jumping cholla got me once. Yikes…he’s going to hurt for a long while.

“Got me right in the ass. Sadly, each quill has a barbed hook. This guy got torn up when it was all removed.”

Viewers claiming to have knowledge of the area speculated that the plant could have been hanging chain cholla – a cactus native to the Mexico and south-western region of the US.

“A jumping cholla got me once,” wrote one. “Yikes. He’s going to hurt for a long while.”

Another warned: “If it’s cholla, count on the needles being like little fish hooks. Not easy to pull out at all – from one who knows.”