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Rider taken to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, full details yet to emerge

A cyclist taking part in ysterday's Wiggle Dragon Ride, based at Margam Country Park, Port Talbot, was flown by air ambulance after crashing during the event.

There are no details as yet as to the extent of the cyclist's injuries or their condition.

In a statement, event organisers Human Race said:

There was an incident involving a cyclist at the Dragon Ride on 9th June which was attended by the Welsh Ambulance Service. The rider was airlifted to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where he is being treated for his injuries. The incident occurred on the descent of the Bwlch at Abergwynfi. Human Race, organisers of the Dragon Ride will conduct a full investigation into the circumstances of the incident and currently understand no vehicles or other cyclists were involved. The injured rider was attended to by a number of medical professionals who were also taking part in the Dragon Ride prior to St. John's Ambulance and the Air Ambulance arriving at the scene.

According to road.cc's Dave Atkinson, who is familiar with the section of road in question having ridden past editions of the event, "the descent off the Bwlch is pretty fast and open, Abergwynfi itself isn't a steep section but you can be carrying quite a lot of speed into the village."

In the comments below this article, road.cc user David Gunthorpe reveals how he was the first rider on the scene, coming across the stricken cyclist – whom he says is “doing ok, apparently” in hospital – immediately after a cattle grid which was preceded by a right hand corner at the bottom of the descent.

Speaking to BBC News South West Wales, he said: "I came round the corner, still descending, and I saw this guy in the middle of the road and he wasn't moving.

"I pulled over and I checked his pulse, which was fine. He was face down and bleeding from his nose and face.

"He was conscious but we were concerned about his breathing."

Two doctors and a surgeon also taking part in the ride stopped and performed emergency CPR prior to the arrival of St John Ambulance and subsequently the emergency helicopter.

He added: "The rear tyre had blown off the rim about 10 inches. It might have happened as we came over a cattle grid further back. His rear wheel was locked."

According to other comments below, there were a lot of crashes during the event, particularly early on, leading some cyclists to ride cautiously given the conditions.

 

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.

37 comments

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JohnBuc [57 posts] 3 years ago
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There were a lot of crashes yesterday especially early on before the groups thinned out.
Hope the rider is ok and mends quickly.

It was pretty brutal yesterday with the heat and I was very aware that fatigue could play a big part so I was pretty cautious when descending later in the day.

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hennahairgel [46 posts] 3 years ago
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The crash was just after the cattle grid as you descend into the village. There's a sharpish right just before it that should encourage some speed loss, but it's just after the first, fast, descent.

I hope that he recovers quickly, and that it does not affect a well organized event.

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TheOldCog [113 posts] 3 years ago
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the rider was looking in a bad state, went past just after it happend, I heard the first-aider ask the other one, "has he got a pulse?" thankfully the reply was "yes" Not sure if there are any cattle grid warning signs there, but there certainly is plenty of slow and 30 mph warning signs. The Rider was on the deck about 3-5 meters after the grid.

Hope the rider recovers fully.

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dgunthor [4 posts] 3 years ago
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-22839283

I was first on scene (David Gunthorpe) - looked like a blowout on the rear tyre and wheel locked, suspect it happened at the cattle grid.

Chap is doing ok in hospital apparently.

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dgunthor [4 posts] 3 years ago
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I was first on scene, have spoken to BBC news and it's on their website now.

I took his pulse and phoned 999, then 2 doctors and a surgeon turned up (cyclists) and did some CPR and maintained his breathing till ambulance / helecopter arrived.

He's doing ok in hospital apparently, I'm due to get an update this afternoon.

Looks like he had a blowout on the cattle grid as his rear tyre was outside the rim by about 10 inches and the wheel wouldn't turn in the frame.

Hope he's ok.

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troj [5 posts] 3 years ago
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A few accidents early on. I think if they had the same marshaling at the same points as last year when it was wet it could of reduce some of the accidents. Plus there are a lot of riders with big engines that can't handle or ride safely. On the final decent because of the wind I decided to take it a little slower and give myself bigger margins.

Better to be slower and finish in one piece.
I do hope he is ok.

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ScotchPoth (not verified) [368 posts] 3 years ago
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Ive ridden around this area around treorchy and there are some great climbs and fast descents
ive always been cautious when negotiating cattle grids,i tend to get off and walk over them as there is a significant juddering and i imagine you could quite easily lose control
good luck to the injured cyclist

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migi [2 posts] 3 years ago
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I really hope he's OK, I must have missed it by a couple of mins and the guys were doing a fabulous job when I went past.

Well done to everyone involved!!

He was one of three I saw who looked to have crashed hard over the 200+ km.

Ride safe everyone!

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mattyb95 [30 posts] 3 years ago
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The descent off black mountain was the worst for me, early on, the wind was pretty fierce from the side. I also saw a few fallers, all being looked after by St John's who did a sterling job. It seemed mainly on bends where I guess they just over-cooked it, hope they are all ok.

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danimal [2 posts] 3 years ago
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That cattle grid caught me by surprise as it was shaded by a tree. Was quite hard to see the road at times (really bright sunlight, eyes couldn't adjust quickly enough in the shade) Could be that the rider didn't see it in time and went over it too quickly.

Hope he's ok and mends soon.

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fennesz [137 posts] 3 years ago
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The one prior to the village had a little lip on it, on the village side, or at least I thought so at the time.

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CyclingLove [2 posts] 3 years ago
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I was passing the scene just a few minutes after the incident and concur with some of the other witnesses that the winds were a little troublesome and the cattle grid came with limited warning. I did see a few minor injuries earlier on into the ride and took heed. I wish the injured chap a good recovery, I have to be honest, seeing his condition at the scene put a bit of a downer on my first Dragon Ride. Otherwise, great day and challenging ride!

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515 [16 posts] 3 years ago
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I didn't see that incident but I recall the cattle grid - no warning sign for it though there are several 30mph notifications.

Granny and eggsuck time - always ride over a cattle grid in the middle of the lane - where the road is worn the steel grid will not be and so will have a much larger ridge, a classic snakebite puncture waiting to happen.

Ride safe guys.

Oh and to the English guy who swore at me as he rode into the 1st Medio feeder at 20mph -

1)SLOW DOWN AROUND PEDESTRIANS ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY CAN'T WALK VERY QUICKLY BECAUSE........ WAIT FOR IT...... THEY'RE WEARING CYCLING SHOES!

2)I don't care how big you are or how hard you think you are, don't swear at someone, especially when he's got five ex-rugby playing mates with him. You were very close to being on the receiving end of a pasting. You have me to thank for remaining vertical.

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Causeican [2 posts] 3 years ago
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When are these events going to be properly regulated. All you read about is accidents. The fact there is hundreds if not thousands of riders of different ability riding together there are going to be issues. I have seen riders 3/4 abreast on tight country roads riding in groups of over thirty. It's blatantly a race to some of the riders who think its s stage of the tour. British cycling should be doing something to sort these events so there are more marshals/signs and some sort of regulations on number of riders. Road races and time trials are tightly regulated for the safety of all road users these sportive/races are not. I hope the rider concerned makes a full recovery and the organisers and British cycling do something before there are more serious incidents

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Wookster [53 posts] 3 years ago
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I saw a chap really cut up near Rhyslyn, not good to see. I think this was another flea to the one here? Either way hope they both recover quickly and get back out on the bike.

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sonicblaster [1 post] 3 years ago
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-The 3 fast downhills should be neutralized. Sprotifs in this country have become so popular that the descents do not match people’s abilities. You get better at descending by doing it not by riding a turbo.

-If I’m pedalling hard and in control at 70KM/h what I don’t want is some crazy guy with death wish half-wheeling me, loosing it and taking me down. There were too many people too close on fast descents. Not the place to sit on my wheel when I’m carrying you through the wind.

-One for the organisers – cover the grids and get a marshal to stop the livestock. You managed to do this on the first grid. Given the £150,000 entry revenue this is a small price to pay.

It was a sobering experience watching the medics efforts and the air ambulace but the crazy half-wheeling and red light jumping continued which I though was somewhat disrespectful.

I would only consider entering this event if the descents were neutralized.

I hope the guy who came off gets back on his bike soon - best wishes.

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Sepahpoura [1 post] 3 years ago
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I was riding with David when we arrived at the scene. We were descending at a pretty hairy pace and can honestly say if we hadn't seen the rider on the road it could have easily been one of us. When I arrived I tried to get a visual response from him asking him to blink if he could here me. I was concious that he might have a sponal injury and was not keen on moving him. He was losing colour and it was difficult to judge what was happening. His arm muscles were twitching but he wasn't responding to my questions. Initially someone thought he had a pulse and as a doctor arrived we moved into the recovery position. shortly after that the doctor decided there was no pulse. He quickly started CPR and the patient responded, but with a very weak pulse. As time passed more riders who were medical staff arrived and started to help. The patient was struggling but constantly being monitored. Without the quick reactions of all those involved the outcome could have been very different. I love the adrenaline that a fast down gives you, but it's incidents like this that remind you how easily it can all change. I hope he recovers soon. My thoughts are with his family.

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velo pixie [6 posts] 3 years ago
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I would agree with most of the above views on the riding standards shown on Sunday, some obviously very skilled riders who were a delight to watch and ride with and some very unskilled riders that will at best give Sportifs a bad name and at worst, be responsible for injuring other people.

Descending does seem to be a problem. As I came down Black Mountain at around 40mph and was entering the lower section of the descent going around a left hand bend, I happened to glance to my inside and spotted another rider half wheeling me (and fully intent on passing me)Had I not seen him and tightened my line as I had originally intended I suspect we too might have been seeking medical assistance.

Organisers of events can do little to curb this type of riding and the "race" mind set of some riders. It's just a shame that these riders who clearly want to race don't have the bottle to go and race in an appropriate environment by taking up racing.

I hope the chap involved in the above incident, and the other four injured riders that I personally saw receiving medical attention all recover soon and are back riding soon (all of the incidents I saw were on fast downhill stretches).

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Al'76 [110 posts] 3 years ago
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This is difficult subject given that somebody is currently in hospital. I wish him a speedy and full recovery.
My heart sunk when I saw the emergency services and crowd of riders stopped to allow paramedics to tend to the injured rider. I also saw a few incidents earlier in the ride (sterling job done by the Mavic support crew who were usually first on scene and then, later, by St. John). Probably more than I have seen on other sportives and, I can only assume, that is due to the high profile nature of this event (it is billed as "the UK's most prestigious Sportive") attracting those seeking a challenge and the recent surge in popularity of our sport.
I'm lucky; I can ride to my heart's content (time permitting) in the North and South Downs where we have some great climbing and descending so, though they're not so long, have experience of fast twisty, windswept descents. I've taken my share of spills and will probably take some more (hopefully not too serious [either on body or wallet!]); that's how I learnt to brake and corner.
I appreciate that others are not so fortunate and don't have the same topography / geography on their doorstep.
However, by all accounts, in this instance (the guy who is badly injured) none of that is relevant. He had a rear tyre blow out. OK, there is an argument that the cattle grids could / should have been covered; so what happens when, in the next village, a motorist swerves to avoid a sheep and hits a child?
There was some poor riding on display granted, but cycling is inherently dangerous and accidents happen.
The last thing we need is people calling for regulation and neutralized descents. Let's not ruin the enjoyment of the many due to a selfish few who don't ride in the spirit of the event.
Once again, I sympathize with anybody injured, their families and loved ones.

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alexjones5 [27 posts] 3 years ago
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I have raced, ridden in groups and also enjoy riding the odd sportive.
Whilst I think the boom in cycling is fantastic it has introduced a lot of older guys to the sport. Disposable income doesn't seem to be an issue judging by some of the bikes you see however, bike handling and group riding are.
This is nowhere more apparent than on descents. The lines, speed taken into corners etc suggest more accidents in the future.
These rides are very difficult to police 100%, it is down to riders to ride within their limits. As has been said there are some technically very good descenders who are safe at higher speeds.
For the sustained growth of cycling and its infrastructure I would love to see people new to the sport joining a club and participating in group rides. Not only would this increase comfort in riding in a group but also help watching more experienced cyclists descend etc.
I hope the chap who was involved in the accident is ok. I saw several other crashes on Sunday and would wish everyone unfortunate enough to have an accident a speedy recovery

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jonsta [2 posts] 3 years ago
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I really hope the rider is ok, my thoughts are with him and his family. Here's hoping he makes a full and speedy recovery.

I passed by the accident soon after it happened while he was being attended by several riders shortly before the ambulance arrived. No one wants to nanny state these rides but I did witness some pretty reckless riding and overtaking on descents. I don't think it would do any harm to have some big signs at the top of descents or at particularly fast sections reminding riders to mind their speed and ride within their limits.

As for cattle grids - riding over them at any speed is always a little unnerving, and the cattle grid may or may not have contributed to this accident - I really don't know. If all cattle grids were covered it would require extra marshalling (to contain sheep etc) which would be ideal but not sure this would always be practical (and would the coverings be any safer?)

However I do think more overt warning and slow down signs repeated in the 100 or so meters before the grids or other potential hazards may help to reduce riders approach speeds.

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Markthenark [1 post] 3 years ago
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This was my 2nd time to do the event. I have not been riding that long compared to some peolple I guess, about 18 month to 2 years perhaps. I totally agree with some of the comments on here that some riders were racing and showed little regard to other riders.

I had, on more than four or five occasions, riders come whizzing passed in groups and their handle bars virtually clipping mine or they dart in front when overtaken and their rear wheel nearly touching my front wheel, forcing me into the kerb to avoid a clash. Furious is an understatement!

I arrived at the crash scene just as the air ambulence was taking off and stopped where I was, just like the majority of riders. However, a number of other riders who were turning up were pushing their way to the front of the backlogged cars and cyclist so (I can only assume) they would be the 1st to get away when the road was re-opened. How disrespectful to the rider that had the accident hey ?

It was a tough day on the bike in the sunshine (which I shouldn't complain about!)and I found the cousre a challenge indeed. I live local and have done the route a few times previously in training and in a milder climate !

I wish the cyclist who had the accident a speedy recovery and wish his family and loved ones well.

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Hoester [68 posts] 3 years ago
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To the guy in the held bunch who was more frustrated that his finishing time was ruined, than he was interested in the condition of the fallen rider: Shame on you. You know who you are.

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CyclingLove [2 posts] 3 years ago
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Any updates on how the injured rider is getting on?
(Appreciate privacy laws etc)

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al h-g [4 posts] 3 years ago
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Sepaphora's account is spot on. I was the first dr on the scene. Awful accident . Ruined the day for me after the elation of getting up the bwlch knowing it was all downhill from there

I don't think this is the right place to criticise 'mamils' or sportives in general. No other riders were involved by all accounts and this was simply a tragic accident. I'm local and ridden those cattle grids tens of times with no incidents. This was simply bad luck.

I want to say thanks to everyone who stopped to help the poor guy out. i wish the rider and his family a full and speedy recovery.

Lucky a trauma surgeon and anaesthetist rolled up too as well as at least 4 oher doctors. Air ambulance guys were awesome. Everyone who stopped to help deserves a pat on the back, and people who were moaning that their time had been messed up should be ashamed of themselves. There was also a tosser van driver trying to force his way up the mountain past the ambulance who i gave a right mouthful to. Yeah it cost me half an hour on my official time , but some things are more important.

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al h-g [4 posts] 3 years ago
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Madonepro that is a truly awful thing to say. If you are lying in a heap unconcious haven fallen off that chip on your shoulder you'll be glad for any medical help you recieve by bypassing medics. Study hard work hard and play hard!

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DCLane [47 posts] 3 years ago
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Having done the Gran Fondo for the 1st time on Sunday the climbs and descents are what makes this sort of event. I saw the rider who crashed at the bottom of Black Mountain whilst the ambulance was there.

Thanks to those who did stop - and particularly the medical professionals taking part. Others might complain but you're doing absolutely the right thing.

Most of the riders know that this is a tough ride, but it does depend on how much experience you have on descents. I descend fast but don't half-wheel and get a lot of practice.

What I did see was some expensive kit out there - makes my Spesh Secteur look low-rent. Unfortunately, just having a decent bike doesn't make you a decent rider.

Oh, and major respect to the guy doing the ride on a hand-bike.

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515 [16 posts] 3 years ago
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Madonepro.

I bet the poor injured sod in question was really pissed off at the seven medics that rocked up and ruined his classically proletariat sport.

Twat.

Oh and since you're bound to ask; I'm a shop worker.

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ManicDrummer [2 posts] 3 years ago
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I have been a competitive club cyclist for some 30 years,time trial (100 miles 12 hour) and now sportives for the last 6 years. Therefore, I count myself as an experienced cyclist. But, and it is a big but experience has taught me to know what i can't do and that is descend fast. You see I live in Suffolk and yer don't get exposed to the climbs or the descents and therefore for me I take it easy, Im still Learning how to descend, and big enough to accept this.

Some cyclist on this ride clearly did not accept or even no their limitations. i am not saying the badly injured guy was one of these, just pointing out as others have done that we witnessed some near misses.

I hope the guy recovers fast

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OldnSlo [135 posts] 3 years ago
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I did the gran fondo for the first time and saw the aftermath of three accidents. Two in the Neath area, the first on a dual carriageway, the second heading out of Neath - with ambulance in attendence. Finally the third just before the medio/gran cut off, locals attending with ambulance on the way.

On the Bwlch descent my ride buddies Armadillo all road rear tyre started to disintegrate. With the outer protective strip peeling away. It held together, but not good.

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