South East Wales

Welsh Olympic cyclist 'lost road confidence' after crash

Ciara Horne lays in hospital after her accident Image copyright Twitter/@CiaraHorne1
Image caption Ciara Horne was taken to hospital with severe cuts and bruises on Thursday

Welsh cyclist Ciara Horne says she needs psychological help before returning to road training after being knocked off her bike while commuting.

The double European champion said she fears she suffered a fractured wrist in the incident on Thursday but knows she "escaped serious injury".

The 27-year-old - Team GB's reserve as they won 2016 Olympic Team Pursuit gold in Rio - said she had lost confidence.

"It's frightening and has made me question my safety," she said.

The full-time physiotherapist was riding from her home in Cardiff to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant when the incident happened.

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Image caption Ciara Horne (far right) was part of the GB team that won bronze at the 2016 World Championships

She was rushed to hospital in an ambulance with severe cuts and bruises and will have an MRI scan on a suspected fracture of the scaphoid, a bone in the wrist, on Monday.

Miss Horne has had "get well soon" wishes from British cycling greats Jo Rowsell Shand, Laura Trott and Geraint Thomas since the incident near Pontyclun Fire Station in Rhondda Cynon Taff.

"As the car pulled from a side road straight out in front of me, I couldn't swerve or brake in time so hit it," she recalled.

"I bounced off the windscreen. As I crashed to the floor, my head was spinning and couldn't close my jaw. I was pretty hysterical.

"The man in the car behind me stopped and rung my mum. He said it was 'spectacular' and I was 'lucky to be alive' so I'm blessed to still be here."

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Image caption GB cycling team-mates Jo Rowsell Shand and Ciara Horne are close long-time friends

Miss Horne competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and is expected to be in the Welsh cycling squad, including Olympic gold medal winner Elinor Barker, that is among the favourites to win the four-rider, 4km team pursuit title at next year's Commonwealths in Australia.

But she told the BBC: "It's frightening and has made me question my safety.

"I have lost a lot of confidence on the road. I know I should get straight back on the road but I will need the help of the brilliant Sport Wales psychologists who I can talk to, to build my belief back up.

"You don't ever think something like this is going to happen to you, it gave me one hell of a fright.

"My fitness is good, but I need to work on the mental side now and have a phased return to the road.

"I have a lot of soft tissue injuries and I know they take time to heal, often longer than broken bones."

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Image caption Ciara Horne won two bronze medals at the 2016 World Championships

Miss Horne has stepped away from British Cycling in Manchester to work full-time, as well as being funded by Welsh Cycling and training in Newport.

She will now take inspiration from fellow Welsh rider Becky James, the former double world champion, who recovered from a cancer scare and a chronic knee condition to win two silver medals at last year's Rio Olympics.

"Her Olympic silvers were like gold," said Miss Horne. "She came back from numerous injuries and I hope I can do something similar. She's an inspiration.

"It's all about the journey and learning from adversity to come back stronger."

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Image caption Ciara Horne was an unused reserve rider for the team pursuit squad at the 2016 Olympics in Rio

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