Ben Johnson (Drapac) will not take his place on the New Zealand Cycle Classic start line tomorrow after he was hit by a vehicle towing a caravan while training on the Sunshine Coast on Sunday morning and has not recovered from his injuries.
Johnson will be replaced by Dutchman Wouter Wippert who will be making his debut for the team. Johnson sustained a deep gash to his left elbow which required six stitches along with multiple abrasions and haematomas but is hopeful of getting back on the bike later this week.
"I am really disappointed not to be in New Zealand," said Johnson. "I was coming off some great form following the Bright training camp and [Australian] Nationals and I was looking forward to racing. I had a good opportunity to get a result there and Drapac has sent a very strong team over. I'm devastated."
Johnson is pursuing the matter through legal channels while Tracey Gaudry, Chief Executive of the Amy Gillett Foundation who is the team's community partner, said sharing the road safely is a two way street, stating "let's lower the temperature – we are friends, family, workmates, strangers sharing our great environment. Everyone has the right to ride, walk or drive in safety.
"Placing safety in our consciousness immediately changes the way we interact with others and use shared spaces. It's important to remember we're sharing the road with people, a moment of distraction or frustration can have potentially fatal consequences," said Gaudry.
"Queensland will soon implement trial legislation requiring drivers to leave at least a metre when overtaking bike riders. Clarity about the space bike riders need for improved safety while maintaining an efficient road system for everyone is long overdue."