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MacLeod holds on to hope post-injury

After a serious crash in training that broke her neck and dislocated two vertebrae, top New Zealand downhiller Sheryl MacLeod wants to return to riding her bike; however, it's still too early for her to know whether her international racing career is over.

Following her early-January accident, MacLeod, 30, underwent an emergency operation in Christchurch to fuse the vertebrae with a bone graft from her hip. Surgeons also wired the broken bones within her neck.

"I'm still feeling positive and am not planning to give up," she said to the Otago Daily Times. "I still want to have fun on the pedals, but I might concentrate on less risky bikes on the road or in cross-country mountain biking."

Now wearing a neck brace and using crutches for balance on long walks, she had her sights set on the World Championships happening in Canberra, Australian in August. Only time will tell if she will need a second operation.

"If it (my neck) doesn't heal properly, I may need to have a plate and screw inserted through the front of the neck."

Rather than frustration, she expressed relief that she was not more seriously hurt and has been given a second chance. "I've beaten the odds and I'm still alive and able to walk. Someone up there was looking down on me and people were sending me good vibes."

Her family and that of her partner are assisting her as she recovers at home in Dunedin.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.