Double crash stuns cycling world

Free Press Series: The scene of a crash in Wrightington, Lancashire, in which cyclist Bradley Wiggins was hurt The scene of a crash in Wrightington, Lancashire, in which cyclist Bradley Wiggins was hurt

Tour de France-winning cyclist Bradley Wiggins is recuperating at home while his coach Shane Sutton recovers in hospital after both were knocked off their bikes in separate accidents within the space of 15 hours.

Wiggins, 32, suffered a bruised hand and ribs in his collision with a van near his home in Lancashire on Wednesday night, but was allowed home yesterday.

Great Britain Cycling Team head coach Sutton, 55, sustained a small bleed on the brain after a crash with a car in Manchester on Thursday. He remains in hospital in a stable condition.

Australian-born Sutton, from Cardiff, has worked with the British team since 2002 and has been credited with playing a major role in transforming the fortunes of the sport in this country - including helping Wiggins to many successes including the world's toughest bike race and this year's time trial gold medal at the London Olympics.

After the unfortunate coincidence Dave Brailsford, performance director of British Cycling, said a greater awareness of cycle safety should be a "legacy" of the Olympic Games.

Mr Brailsford told the BBC that drivers must understand how vulnerable cyclists can be on the roads.

He said: "It's very rare that we have too many accidents... on a day to day basis, but we've got to put safety first and I think we would encourage our riders to ride as safely as possible. Maybe a legacy of the Games could be a greater awareness and understanding of cycle safety and just how vulnerable they can be on the roads."

He also gave a word of advice to cyclists, saying: "For anybody starting out in our sport the ability to second-think everything around you and try and pre-empt any dangerous situations around you... would be a key thing in terms of safety. Most cyclists own cars and a lot of car drivers cycle so it's a case of mutual respect."

Wiggins was taken by ambulance to Royal Preston Hospital following his crash in Crow Orchard Road, Wrightington, shortly after 6pm on Wednesday. The incident happened when the driver of a white Vauxhall Astra Envoy, a local woman, drove out of a garage forecourt. It was reported that Wiggins was riding a mountain bike to meet a group of local cyclists near to his home in Eccleston.

Lancashire Police said officers intended to speak to the driver, who was uninjured, as part of their inquiries.

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