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New Zealand's MacLeod breaks neck

Reigning New Zealand downhill national champion Sheryl MacLeod suffered a serious crash last Sunday while on a training ride. The 30-year-old MacLeod broke her neck and dislocated two vertebrae, her second and third, when she slid out while riding in wet conditions. A helicopter took her to Dunedin Hospital, from where she was transferred by air ambulance to Christchurch for an operation on Monday.

"Sheryl slid on the log drop, moved sideways and landed awkwardly," said her partner Warren Black to the Otago Daily Times. MacLeod's vertebrae were fused during surgery that included a bone graft, too. She remains hospitalized and is expected to begin walking in the next few days.

MacLeod's partner said she is in good spirits though she does not know when she will be able to ride again.

MacLeod finished sixth in the UCI World Cup in Canberra last August and second in the third round of the Australian national series in Geelong.

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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.