The Tour de France winner and multiple Olympic gold medallist, Bradley Wiggins, has been left with rib injuries and a dislocated finger after being hit by a van while out training on Wednesday evening.
It is unclear how the injuries will affect his 2013 season, as he was just beginning to pick up his winter training. He will undergo further scans on Thursday to assess the full extent of the damage.
Wiggins was riding on his mountain bike at about 6pm to meet a group of local cyclists close to his home in Eccleshall, near Chorley in Lancashire, when he was hit by a white Vauxhall Astra van which is said to have emerged from a garage forecourt on to a main road, the A5209, next to junction 27 of the M6 near the village of Wrightington.
Lancashire police, who confirmed they had attended the incident, said the driver was helping them with their inquiries.
The garage attendant, Yasmin Smith, told the Lancashire Evening Post: “By the time I got there he had moved to a safer place but [he] was still on the ground and he was in a lot of pain. He said he thought he had broken his ribs and, while a lot of police cars arrived, it was about 15 minutes before the ambulance got there, by which time he was blue.”
The 32-year-old, who has won a total of seven Olympic medals including four golds, was taken to hospital in Preston where he was given morphine and had a precautionary scan of his head.
“He is being kept in hospital overnight for observation but the injuries he has sustained are not thought to be serious and he is expected to make a full and speedy recovery,” Sky confirmed in a statement.
Wiggins was in the process of resuming his winter training after his autumn break, during which he has taken time out to publicise his Tour de France memoir, My Time, which is published on Thursday.
He had been expected to appear on the Chris Evans show on BBC Radio 2 on Thursday morning. His race programme for 2013 has yet to be confirmed but he has said he expects to target the Giro d’Italia next May.
The crash is a rare piece of misfortune for the first Briton to win the Tour, who completed the whole of his training and racing programme for 2012 without a crash or even a minor illness, and narrowly avoided several serious crashes en route to his Tour title.
The last injury to disrupt his career was a broken collarbone sustained during the 2011 Tour de France, after which he was off his bike for four weeks.
— Guardian News and Media 2012