Tour de France winner Wiggins hit by car

Injuries not considered serious

 

This year's Tour de France winner spent the night in a hospital with broken ribs after he was knocked off his bike while cycling near his home in northern England, his professional team said.

"We can confirm that Bradley Wiggins was involved in a road traffic accident whilst riding his bike near his home in Lancashire on Wednesday evening," Team Sky said in a statement Thursday.

"He is being kept in hospital overnight for observation, but the injuries he has sustained are not thought to be serious and he is expected to make a full and speedy recovery."

A spokeswoman for Lancashire police said Wiggins had suffered broken ribs, "but the rest are minor injuries considering what happened."

Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour de France this summer, only days before he took his fourth Olympic gold in the time trial event in London -- two feats that transformed him into an international hero.

He is known for his idiosyncratic style, sporting large sideburns and a 1960s-inspired "mod" wardrobe, as well as his prowess in the saddle.

Lancashire police said the 32-year-old had been involved in a collision by a gas station in Wrightington with a car driven by a local woman.

The driver of the car was not hurt and, and police say she is helping them with their inquiries.

In a painful coincidence, the head coach for the GB Cycling Team, Shane Sutton, was also injured in an accident while cycling in the Manchester area Thursday, the sport's governing body British Cycling said.

He suffered bruising and bleeding on the brain, the body said in a statement, and is likely to remain hospitalized for the next few days, while undergoing more tests.

"It is extremely rare that our riders and coaches are hurt while out cycling on the road, even rarer that two incidents should occur in a short space of time, and we wish Shane and Bradley a speedy recovery," British Cycling said.

"Cycling is not an intrinsically dangerous activity but there is much more to be done to improve conditions for cyclists on the roads."

Safety is a big issue for cyclists in Britain and elsewhere. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, a road safety group, 107 cyclists died on Britain's roads last year. More than 3,000 others were seriously injured and at least 16,000 were slightly injured.

Wiggins' accident sparked a flurry of comments on Twitter -- some sympathetic, others highlighting the dangers cyclists face on the road, or the risk they pose to other road users if they don't ride responsibly.

Referring to Wiggins by his nickname, the cycling charity Sustrans tweeted: "Wiggo incident shows the government needs to create more safe space for cycling & look at changing the justice system."

Although Wiggins' high-profile victories this summer earned him national and international acclaim, he had previously won three gold medals on the track at the Athens and Beijing Olympics.

The grueling Tour de France, watched by millions around the world, is the sport's most prestigious race.

U.S. cyclist Lance Armstrong recently was stripped of his seven Tour de France wins between 1999 and 2005, amid allegations of "professionalized" doping in his U.S. Postal Service team. He denies the claims.


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