Paralympic champion cyclist Simon Richardson is in a critical but stable condition in hospital after suffering multiple injuries following a hit-and-run incident involving a van near Bridgend.
The 44-year-old, winner of two golds and a silver medal at Beijing in 2008, was thrown from his bike in the incident, which took place at 0940 yesterday morning on the A48 at Crack Hill House and was airlifted to University of Wales Hospital, Cardiff, reports BBC News.
South Wales Police have arrested a 59-year-old man in connection with the incident, which was followed by a second crash at the same location while paramedics were treating Richardson, resulting in a 74-year-old woman being treated for chest injuries.
Police are appealing for witnesses who saw the incident or who may have seen a small white van leaving the scene and heading towards Cowbridge, as well as anyone who may have stopped to give help but did not leave their details.
Richardson, who comes from Porthcawl, was seriously injured in 2001 after he was struck by a car while out cycling on a club run, with the accident leaving him with no feeling on his left side.
In 2005, doctors persuaded him to start cycling again as part of his rehabilitation, and the following year who was racing for Wales on an adapted bike, powered by his right leg.
At Beijing, he won gold in LC 3–4 class kilo with a world record time of 1 minute 14.936 seconds. He subsequently added a second gold medal in the LC3–4 3km individual pursuit, and also took silver in the LC3 class road time trial.
Phil Jones, of Brother UK, which sponsors Richardson, told BBC Wales that he had spoken to the cyclist’s wife, who said that his condition was “critcal but stable".
His injuries include multiple fractures of the spine and a broken pelvis and breast bone, while only one of his lungs is working.
Mr Jones added: "There is quite a big community of people who know Simon and know of his achievement. There's a real sense of support for Simon."
He said that Richardson had been due to try out a new time-trial bike as part of his efforts to qualify for London 2012.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.