Victorian Womens Criterium champs marred by crash

While Jenny MacPherson claimed the 2009 Victorian Open Women's Criterium championship in Geelong on Saturday, the race was overshadowed by a massive crash in the final 300 metres of the race. Three riders were taken to hospital following the pile-up that involved 12 of the competitors.

"There were bikes spinning, flying in the air, doing 360s and knocking riders off," said Martin Millwood from Shimano's neutral service team. "Girls were going over handlebars, and about a dozen bikes ended up with damaged handlebars, saddles and wheels. It’s the most spectacular crash I’ve ever seen."

Ballarat’s Beth Canny, fellow Victorian Emy Huntsman and West Australian Rebecca Halliday suffered severe injuries and were taken to hospital after initial treatment by paramedics at the scene.

Huntsman and Halliday both suffered broken collarbones and Canny was treated for multiple minor injuries. Several other riders received medical attention for grazing and deep cuts.

"It’s the worst crash I’ve attended to in 35 years in women’s racing," said medical officer Bobby Hall afterwards.

The start of the men's criterium - part of the GMHBA Tour of Geelong – was delayed as medical crews worked to stabilise the riders injured in the accident. Robert Doyle (Prime Estate Buyers Agents) immediately withdrew from the men’s race to remain close to girlfriend Beth Canny while she received treatment.

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