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Tour winner Wiggins recovers after training crash

643   //    08 Nov 2012, 16:26 IST

WRIGHTINGTON, United Kingdom (AFP) –

Wiggins became the first British winner in the history of the Tour de France this year

Tour de France champion and Olympic gold medallist Bradley Wiggins, pictured in July 2012. British cyclist Wiggins was expected to leave hospital on Thursday after being hit by a car while riding his bike near his family home.

Britain’s Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins was expected to leave hospital on Thursday after being hit by a car while riding his bike near his family home.

Lancashire Police said the 2012 Olympics time-trial gold medallist was in a “stable” condition after suffering broken ribs and a wrist injury in the accident on Wednesday evening, adding that the injuries were not life-threatening.

The 32-year-old was thrown off his bike when hit by a car believed to have pulled out of a petrol station in Wrightington, near his family home in Eccleston, northwest England.

Police said they would interview the driver — a local woman who was unhurt in the incident — later Thursday.

Pieces of wrecked wing mirror from the car were still lying at the scene on Thursday morning.

The accident took place just months after Britain’s first ever winner of cycling’s most prestigious race called for drivers and cyclists to “co-exist” on the roads following a fatal accident outside London’s Olympic Park.

“He is still in hospital. He’s in a stable condition. It was minor injuries, broken ribs and a wrist injury,” a Lancashire Police spokeswoman told AFP on Thursday.

“We plan to speak to the driver later today as part of our inquiries.”

Officials did not disclose which hospital he was being treated in.

A source in the emergency services said the rider — one of Britain’s most recognisable and popular sportsmen — was expected to leave hospital later on Thursday.

Wiggins, who broke his collarbone in the 2011 Tour de France, had been due to take part in a number of interviews to promote his autobiography “My Time”, which is published Thursday.

Wiggins celebrates winning the Olympic gold in London in August

Britain’s Bradley Wiggins celebrates winning the gold medal after competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games men’s individual time trial road cycling event in London on August 1, 2012. Wiggins was expected to leave hospital on Thursday after being hit by a car while riding his bike near his family home.

William Fotheringham, a cycling journalist for The Guardian newspaper who helped write the book, said Wiggins was waiting for further scans to assess the full extent of his injuries.

His injuries included a dislocated finger, Fotheringham said.

Father-of-two Wiggins’s Team Sky outfit said on its website that his injuries were “not thought to be serious and he is expected to make a full and speedy recovery”.

Accident investigators visited the scene but the road was not sealed off.

Garage attendant Yasmin Smith, who went to Wiggins’s aid, told the BBC: “I was in the office and I heard a screeching of tyres and a bang. I ran outside and there was a gentleman on the pavement. I didn’t realise who it was at first.

“He was in a lot of pain. He actually thought he had broken his ribs. His hands looked bruised and they were curled up a bit. And then his colour changed.”

Wiggins’s wife went to the scene while they were waiting for an ambulance, she added.

“His wife (tried to) hug him and he said: ‘Don’t, my ribs’,” Smith said.

This year saw Wiggins become the first British winner in the history of the Tour de France and, barely two weeks later, he also won the time trial at London 2012 in front of his home fans for a fourth career Olympic gold medal.

On the same August 1 day that Wiggins enjoyed his latest Games triumph, a passing cyclist was killed in a collision with an London 2012 media shuttle bus just outside the Olympic Park.

Wiggins commented afterwards that cyclists and drivers needed to “co-exist on the roads”, although he clarified later that he was not calling for the wearing of cycle helmets to be compulsory.

“Cyclists are not ever going to go away as much as drivers moan, and as much as cyclists maybe moan about certain drivers they are never going to go away, so there’s got to be a bit of give and take,” he added.

Time-trial specialist Wiggins last month all but admitted that he stands little chance of successfully defending his Tour de France title, after organisers unveiled a brutal, mountain-heavy course for the 100th edition of the race next year.

That potentially makes the race a contest between his team-mate and compatriot Chris Froome and Spain’s Alberto Contador.

Wiggins told reporters at the Tour route launch on October 24 that he would help Froome to upgrade his second-place this year but would himself be targeting the Tour of Italy.

“I wanted to win the Tour at least once but now I want to win the Giro,” he added.

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