Less than 24 hours after British Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins had a collision with a car that required hospitalization, Wiggins’ mentor and coach Shane Sutton was also involved in a serious cycling accident with a vehicle.
Riding near British Cycling’s headquarters in Manchester, Sutton, 55, was involved in an accident and suffered a concussion.
“British Cycling has confirmed that Shane Sutton, head coach for the GB Cycling Team, was involved in an incident this morning on the A6 near Levenshulme in Manchester,” read a statement on British Cycling web site.
“Shane was taken into hospital where it was identified he has suffered bruising and bleeding on the brain. He is set to undergo more tests, and is likely to stay in hospital for the next few days.”
Sutton helped lead Britain’s cycling team to a string of medals at the London 2012 Olympics, including gold for Wiggins in the time trial.
The relationship between Sutton and Wiggins runs deep. A former professional, Sutton raced alongside Wiggins’ estranged father, Gary Wiggins, an Australian world track champion. Wiggins’ Sky teammate, Chris Sutton, is the son of Gary Sutton, Shane’s brother.
In 2009, when Wiggins took his first-ever pro stage race win at Australia’s Herald Sun Tour, John “Iffy” Trevorrow, a three-time winner of the Sun Tour in the late 1970s, explained the relationship history to VeloNews.
“Shane Sutton and Gary Wiggins had altercations,” Trevorrow said. “I don’t think Gary Sutton and Gary Wiggins ever had a punch-up, but they had discussions. But it was volatile between Shane and Gary. They were so similar; they both said exactly what they thought.”
Wiggins, meanwhile, left the hospital near his home in Lancashire on Thursday with several broken ribs and wrist injury. A photo posted to the Telegraph Twitter account shows the media-wary Wiggins in the passenger seat of a car, flashing the finger to assembled photographers.
Commenting on the bizarre timing of the two accidents, British Cycling wrote, “”It is extremely rare that our riders and coaches are hurt while out cycling on the road, even rarer that two incidents should occur in a short space of time, and we wish Shane and Bradley a speedy recovery.”
The federation also called on the government to put cycling “at the heart of transport policy to ensure that cycle safety is built into the design of all new roads, junctions and transport projects, rather than being an afterthought.”