With just a week to go until the Glasgow round of the UCI Track World Cup series – the first major test event at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome that will provide the venue for 2014 Commonwealth Games track competition – British Cycling’s preparations were disrupted by a pair of serious training incidents.
The first, which didn’t directly affect the squad or the support staff, but which was on everyone’s minds and kept the PR staff busy, was the road traffic collision involving Bradley Wiggins. Out on a training ride near his Lancashire home, Wiggins was hit by a van driver leaving the forecourt of petrol station. It was originally feared that the multiple World and Olympic Champion had suffered broken ribs and potentially serious hand injuries, but he was released after an overnight stay with bruising and a dislocated finger.
While most of the media attention was on Wiggins, the second – potentially more disruptive incident, occurred within 24 hours. Australian-born coach Shane Sutton was also hit by a car whilst out training. Sutton’s injuries were more serious and early reports spoke of head injuries that had led to bleeding on the brain. Fortunately, Sutton’s injuries were also less serious than at first feared. A spokesperson for British Cycling said: “Shane is making steady progress but is likely to remain in hospital for one more day under observation. He has fractured his cheek bone which will require surgery in due course. He is expected to make a complete recovery and will be back in work shortly.”
According to reports in the Daily Telegraph, “Sutton was wearing a helmet when the incident occurred and the headgear was credited with playing a major role in ensuring his head injuries were not significantly worse.”
Sutton is a key part of the track team and it isn’t clear at this stage whether he will be back with the team next week – let alone present at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome. Knowing Sutton, though, you wouldn’t rule it out.