By Paul Verkuylen in Geelong
The third and final stage of the Geelong's women's Tour was over before it started for three unlucky riders from the Landlink ACT team after being involved in a car accident on the way to the start of the race.
Vicki Whitelaw, Jenny Macpherson and Josephine Tomic were heading towards the stage start in Barwon Heads when a vehicle carrying barricades to close off parts of the days circuit, un expectedly did a u-turn in front of the car carrying the three young stars. With no where to go and travelling at around 100km/h their car ploughed straight into the Ute. All three women were not seriously injured but were taken to the local hospital with whip lash and soft tissue injuries.
"We're all right considering what happened - I think we're all very lucky," said reigning two kilometre time trail junior world champion Tomic.
"We were driving along the road to Barwon Heads and travelling at the speed limit (100km/h) when this car just pulled out and did a u-turn in front of us. There was nothing we could do and we t-boned it.
"It was pretty scary because we could see it happening and there was nothing we could do about. We were all wearing seat belts so we've got cuts and bruising from those and Jenny [Macpherson] was hit by the airbag when it inflated," Tomic explained.
Whitelaw was riding up front with Macpherson, while Tomic was in the back seat. Due to the speed of the accident, all three were taken to hospital, and are considered lucky that their injuries were not much worse.
"I had x-rays and nothing is broken and they did a urine test to make sure I have no internal bleeding. The other girls also passed the tests so it's a case of whiplash and soft tissue damage really," she said.
All three women are down to ride the first round of the Women's World Cup in Geelong on Sunday, but will make a decision on the day as to whether they will take part or not.
"Maybe we'll wake up tomorrow feeling great but I doubt it," Tomic said. "Personally I don't think I am going to ride it because I'm in pain just sitting here. I wouldn't have enough energy to react to things on the bike so it's better to not race."
Tomic and her colleagues may well have to miss out on Sundays race, but they are expecting a speedy recovery and hope to be back racing soon. "I don't think it's anything major [the damage] and I'm fit and healthy and I'll recover quite quickly."