A gold medal-winning Paralympic cyclist was in a critical condition in hospital this evening after a collision with a van while training.
Simon Richardson, who won two gold medals and a silver at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, has been left with multiple injuries after the alleged hit-and-run incident on the A48 near Bridgend, south Wales, on Wednesday morning.
Richardson was thrown over the handlebars of his bike by the collision and onto the side of the road.
South Wales police said the van failed to stop, although a 59-year-old man was later arrested in connection with the incident.
Richardson was taken by air ambulance to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. His back is broken in two places, he has a fractured pelvis, a broken breastbone, deep cuts to his legs and is only breathing through one lung.
It is Richardson’s second major collision while cycling. He became disabled after being hit by a car in 2001.
Members of the British Paralympic cycling team heard about the incident as they were taking part in a ParalympicsGB training camp at the University of Bath.
A blog written by Phil Jones, a director of the technology company Brother, which sponsors Richardson, has kept supporters updated, and includes some of the many online messages of support sent via Twitter.
Richardson was today said to be conscious and able to communicate with his wife, Amanda. His condition was described as “critical but stable”.
He had not been expected to win selection for London 2012, although he was said to have “harboured hopes” of making the team.
In the wake of the accident, Gareth Sheppard, para-cycling performance manager for British Cycling, called for a government-backed campaign to improve safety for cyclists.
Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of ParalympicsGB, added: “We’re deeply shocked by the news of Simon’s accident. He’s in our thoughts and, on behalf of everyone in the British Paralympic family, we wish him a speedy recovery.”