Simon Richardson, winner of two Paralympic cycling gold medals in Beijing whose dream of defending his titles in London this summer ended when he suffered serious injuries after being hit by van driver Edward Adams, has said that he needs to raise £36,000 to pay for an operation after the motorist’s insurance company refused to foot the bill.
Last month, Adams, a farmer was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment for dangerous driving, with three months added for failure to stop at the scene of the incident, which happened near Bridgend in August 2011. He was also given a three-month concurrent sentence for driving with excess alcohol.
Richardson's bike was broken into three parts by the impact
Richardson suffered multiple injuries including fractures of the spine and a broken pelvis and breast bone, and following Adams’ sentencing last month said: "I have some significant health issues to still overcome following the collision, including further back surgery and long term recovery where my complete effort must be.
"I fully intend to battle my way back to elite competitive sport when I am fully recuperated.”
However, his hopes of getting fit again to start training for Rio 2016 have been dealt a blow by this morning’s news, revealed by Richardson on Twitter, that Adams’ insurance company would not be paying for his treatment.
“All I want to say is thank you to all my friends and followers,” Richardson told road.cc.
“We are not giving up, we are taking the insurance company to court to try and get money for the operation and Leigh Day [his solicitors] will fight it all the way.”
Although Richardson could potentially have the operation done on the NHS, that would mean him remaining in pain for at least a year before the surgery could be carried out, and would be unlikely to give him enough time to complete his rehabilitation in time to get training for the next Paralympics.
“I cannot wait for the NHS,” he said, although he added that he appreciated it was not their fault.
If the action against Adams’ insurers is unsuccessful, he says that he may have to take the extreme measure of selling his house to raise the £36,000 needed for the operation.
“Otherwise, forget Rio,” he added.
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.