Incident is one of three involving top pros in past few days

RusVelo, the UCI Professional Continental team launched earlier this year whose roster includes Russia’s women’s squad, leading male track riders as well as a separate women’s team, has confirmed that its rider Ivan Kovalev has returned to Moscow from Australia after being hit by a car while training in Sydney. The rider had been due to ride as part of the team pursuit squad at this week’s world championships in Melbourne.

According to The Australian, the Russian, who helped his country win world championship team pursuit silver behind Australia 12 months ago, sustained injuries including a broken shoulder in the incident, which happened as he rode the 500 metres from the Dunc Gray Velodrome in Sydney to the team hotel with his team mates.

The 75-year-old female motorist involved in the incident was reported to have been questioned by police.

In a statement, team manager Heiko Salzwedel said: “Until now we have won two of four World Cup races with world-class times. Of course we were shocked after Ivan Kovalev was hit by a car three days ago.

“His shoulder injuries make it impossible for him to hold the handlebars. We decided to send him home to Moscow. Despite this unfortunate accident we are still in a fairly good position.

“Great Britain and especially Australia on their home soil will be hard to beat, but we will give our best to be on the podium. It will be especially interesting to see our 19 year old, young-gun Artur Ershov at his first Elite World Championships.”

Kovalev is not the only cyclist whose world championship preparations were disrupted after being hit by a car while preparing for the event; as we reported yesterday, Australia’s Shane Perkins, who lives in Melbourne, suffered a sprained wrist and bruised buttocks yesterday in a separate incident. He is expected to be ale to defend his title in the keirin.

In Spain yesterday, Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider was also the victim of an incident involving a car, again thankfully without serious injury, although he was forced to withdraw from the Tour of the Basque Country which starts today and has returned to California for treatment.

While it is unusual for three such incidents to occur in quick succession, the sad truth is that professionals being struck by motor vehicles while on training rides is not an uncommon occurrence and often has devastating effects.

In 2005, Australian Olympic rower turned cyclist Amy Gillett was killed when a driver lost control of her car and hit the cyclist and her fellow national team members head-on; besides Gillett losing her life, five of her team mates were also injured.

Five members of the Great Britain women’s squad were injured in a similar incident in Belgium during 2010, and the following January 23-year-old HTC Highroad rider Carla Swart was killed when she was hit by a lorry while training in her native South Africa.

The same week that Swart lost her life, 18-year-old former national youth circuit champion Lewis Balyckyi, who had been aiming to secure a place in the Great Britain Olympic Academy, was also killed when he was struck by a Ford Transit van while on a training ride near Preston, Lancashire.

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.