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Fundraiser for Irish champion struck head-on by speeding motorist raises over £18,000 in three days

Imogen Cotter said she feels “lucky to be alive” after fracturing her patella and radius in the collision on Wednesday

A fundraiser set up to support the recovery of Irish road race champion Imogen Cotter after she was struck by a car while training this week has raised over £18,000 in just three days.

Cotter, who signed with the UCI-registered Plantur-Pura squad for the 2022 season, was training near her new home of Girona when she was struck head-on by a speeding motorist who was overtaking a cyclist on the other side of the road.

On Thursday the 28-year-old posted shared a post on Instagram from her hospital bed, which included two images of her mangled bike and helmet in the aftermath of the incident, highlighting the severity of the collision. 

“I feel so lucky to be alive,” she wrote. “I was taken by ambulance to hospital, where it appears I fractured my patella and broke my radius, as well as needing quite a few stitches.

“I had surgery late last night. I’m just so grateful to still be here to write this. It could have been so much worse.”

Alina Jäger, who shares a house with Cotter in Girona, set up a GoFundMe page to support the Irish champion as she recovers from her injuries. 

“As a professional athlete, she depends on her body to perform. At the moment, she can't even think about walking,” Jäger wrote on the page.

At the time of writing the page has raised over €22,120, some of which has gone towards renting a wheelchair for Cotter, as she is unable to use crutches due to her broken arm.

The Irish rider may need a further operation on Monday to fit a plate in her arm after her shattered patella was also replaced with a metal plate.

> Egan Bernal in intensive care following successful surgery on training crash injuries

“I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated and supported the GoFundMe that was set up,” Cotter said in an update on Instagram today.

“I had no idea it was being set up and when I saw it I was really upset, overwhelmed and emotional. It’s amazing to see how many people are really rooting for me.”

Cotter only took up cycling three years ago at the age of 25 but quickly rose through the ranks, moving to Belgium to participate in the domestic racing scene there while working a number of part time jobs. She rode as part of Movistar’s e-racing team in 2021 and has built a strong social media following advertising products, which has helped fund her training and racing programme.

In October 2021 Cotter won the Irish national road race title, and later that autumn signed a one-year contract with the Plantur-Pura team for this season. She was due to represent Ireland in the UCI Esports World Championships at the end of February.

Cotter’s collision follows Egan Bernal’s horror crash while training in Colombia on Monday. The 2019 Tour de France winner and reigning Giro d’Italia champion underwent double surgery after suffering a host of injuries, including fractured vertebrae, a fractured right femur, fractured right patella, chest trauma, a punctured lung and several fractured ribs in his collision with a parked bus. Bernal’s Ineos Grenadiers teammate Brandon Rivera also suffered a fractured and dislocated elbow while training in the same area on Thursday.

Ryan joined as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

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