By Greg Johnson
An un-named Sydney rider who participated in the Canberra Tour is in hospital in a serious condition after falling into oncoming traffic after a tangle between several competitors in yesterday's women's B grade final stage. The rider, who has not been named at the request of family members, was taken to hospital for treatment with Canberra cyclist Tara O'Brien, who has since been released.
"I believe a few girls touched wheels, had a collision and have gone in front of the car," event director Peter Gough told The Canberra Times. "The ambulance was on the scene very fast and they had medical support staff from us there. It's just a terrible accident."
Some confusion over the unnamed rider's condition was created from the local paper's article, which included news of a passenger in a separate road accident who passed away. A Cycling Australia representative confirmed to Cyclingnews that there was a misunderstanding as a result of the article, but that the person was still in a serious condition in hospital at 5 pm AEST on Monday, April 30.
The accident could see reforms taken, including the possible closure of roads, to further ensure the safety of the event's participants, according to race spokeswoman Tanya Sard.
"Cotter road and Uriarra Road is the main route - it's pretty much 'cycling world' out there and so if anyone belongs out there it's cyclists," Sard told ABC Radio. "The issue we'll have to consider further down the track is whether due to the fantastic participation number we've got in this race, whether or not we can close the road, and that's something we will consider and work with the local government on that."
The accident capped a tragic weekend for the Australian cycling fraternity, following the news the 15 year-old New South Wales cyclist Ben Mikic was fatally injured on Friday afternoon when he was struck by a vehicle at an intersection.
"The family of cycling is grieving the loss of a talented and popular young man who had many dreams and aspirations for his future in the sport," said Cycling Australia CEO Graham Fredericks. "We offer our sincerest condolences to Ben's parents, Darren and Andrea, his brothers Daniel and James, and all his family and friends at this tragic time."
"We also wish a speedy recovery to Alex Tomlinson, a very close friend of Ben, who was also badly injured in the accident," added Fredericks. "Alex is being released from hospital today."