News: Aussies Okay After High Speed Crash

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It isn’t just on the road that riders are crashing as the Aussie Women’s Team Pursuit squad crash at high speed in training on the track

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News: Aussies Okay After High Speed Crash

Press Release by Cycling Australia

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2015 Track World Championships. Photo: Andy Jones 

Australia’s Melissa Hoskins has been cleared of major injury and released from hospital after crashing heavily during Monday’s training session at the Rio Olympic Velodrome.

The five-woman pursuit team of Ashlee Ankudinoff, Georgia Baker, Amy Cure, Annette Edmondson and Melissa Hoskins were riding a training effort and were at race speed of around 60km/h when the crash happened.

Hoskins was stretchered off the track for precautionary reasons, and immediately taken in an ambulance to a nearby hospital. She later underwent scans which ruled out any major injury or broken bones.

“I remember the whole thing, I had nowhere to go, straight over the handle bars and landed heavy on my side, and uncomfortably,” said Hoskins as she left the hospital to return to the Olympic Athletes Village.

The crash continues a terrible run of luck for Hoskins who was forced to miss the 2016 World Championships in March after contracting pneumonia. Without Hoskins, and with an injured Edmondson who was hit by a car just two weeks prior to the event, the defending champions finished fifth at the championships in the team pursuit. They have, however been in top form in the lead up to this week’s racing.

“For those watching it would have been spectacular, we certainly weren’t on a Sunday stroll, we were doing high speed race pace efforts now we are this close to competition,” Hoskins explained.

“So when you crash at those speeds it is never nice especially when four come down, but I am counting us very lucky.” The 2015 world champions and current world record holders in the team pursuit, Australia was completing one of its final training sessions before the track competition begins on Thursday. A clip of wheels brought four of the five riders down, with Edmondson, who was leading the quintet at the time of the incident, remaining upright.

Ankudinoff, Baker and Cure also crashed, but walked off the track and returned to the Athlete’s Village where they are currently being treated for track friction burns and bruises.

“For me, we will take it day by day, it will be a case of seeing how I go,” Hoskins added. “Now, it is obviously quite painful, but you can only throw caution to the wind and hope luck is on my side.

“I am staying positive. After four years of hard work, you don’t want to give up when you are this close. We will be OK, luckily we have four girls who are firing and who will fly the flag if I can’t.” … continued after advert

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The full track team was at the training session but despite the incident, all remain upbeat and focussed on what they need to do. “The women are all in reasonable spirits considering they touched the deck,” said Team Leader Kevin Tabotta. “I am not going to lie, no one wants to see that happen, it is not something we plan for but we do plan to respond to these sorts of things.

“As a team, this team is a bunch of fighters, the staff are a bunch of fighters, as soon as that crash happened, they were already thinking what we need to do next. They (the team) are in the right mindsets, they know they have to get on with the job.”

“There is no sure thing in cycling – there are those who have fallen off their bikes, and there are those who are about to,” added Tabotta. “These girls have fallen off their bikes before. Falls are part of the sport, you have to move on.”

Australia is represented by full contingent of 16 riders in Rio, and are considered strong medal favourites in a number of the ten events to be contested across six days of competition – including the women’s team pursuit.

“These girls have worked hard to get to this point. As a team, they were on the best training form since they won the world title in 2015,” said Tabotta. “But the minute you start thinking ‘poor us what should we do next’, is the moment you are beaten.

“Sure this has put a spanner in the works now, but they have had some great preparation and we are not looking backwards, we are only looking forwards.”

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