Published: 17 August 2011
Report: Press Association
Paralympian cyclist Simon Richardson, who won two gold medals and a silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has been left with serious injuries following an alleged hit and run accident.
Above: Simon competing in the 2009 Paralympic World Championships
Richardson was left with fractures to the spine, a broken pelvis, a broken breast bone, cuts to his legs and a "detached" lung - injuries his coach claims will end his bid to race in the London 2012 Paralympics.
British Cycling's Para-Cycling Performance Manager, Gareth Sheppard called for a Government-backed campaign on the issue.
"We very much want to make sure racing and cycling in general on the road is safe and there does need to be a Government-backed campaign on the issue. It's really, really sad that someone's life could be threatened by someone not taking due care and attention on the road."
The accident is not the first for Richardson, who was hit by a car in 2001, leaving him with serious back and leg injuries and no feeling down his left side.
During rehabilitation, Richardson took up cycling and ultimately achieved success at the 2008 Paralympic Games.
The incident took place when Richardson was cycling near Bridgend, apparently being struck by a white van and thrown to the side of the road.
The 44-year-old was taken to the University of Wales Hospital, Cardiff, via air ambulance where he is undergoing treatment for multiple injuries.
His wife said he is in a "critical but stable condition".
A 59-year-old man from the Cowbridge area has been arrested.
South Wales Police inspector Tony McAlinden said: "South Wales Police are appealing for witnesses following a road traffic collision that occurred at approximately 9.40am on Wednesday August 17 at the A48 Crack Hill, outside Crack Hill House, Bridgend.
"The Welsh Paralympic cyclist Simon Richardson MBE was involved in the injury road traffic accident. He was apparently struck by a small white van travelling in the same direction.
"The van did not stop and continued east along the A48 in the general direction of Cowbridge."
Two further vehicles were later involved in a collision at the same location - a black Toyota Avensis Estate car, driven by a 43-year-old man, and a Gold Rover 25 car driven by a 74-year-old woman.
Inspector McAlinden added: "The ambulance service attended the scene and provided assistance and treatment to both Mr Richardson and the female driver.
"Mr Richardson was later taken by air ambulance to University of Wales Hospital, Cardiff, where he is undergoing treatment for multiple injuries.
"South Wales Police are appealing for any witnesses to contact them.
"Police would like to speak to any person who witnessed the collision, or may have been travelling between Cowbridge and Bridgend on the A48 and saw a white small van leaving the area.
"Also anyone who stopped to provide assistance and who have not yet given their details."
In 2001, Mr Richardson, of Porthcawl, was seriously injured in cycling incident with a car while out with friends from a cycling club.
It left him with serious leg and back injuries and no feeling down his left hand side.
He continued to cycle after doctors recommended it would aid his rehabilitation - using a specially adapted bike powered only by his right leg.
He won Britain's first gold at Beijing in the LC3/4 1km time trial in world record time and later received the MBE in 2009.
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the South Wales Police Roads Policing Unit in Gwaelod y Garth, Cardiff, on 02920 633438 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
Gareth Sheppard, Paralympic Performance Manager: "We were shocked and saddened by the news that Simon was seriously injured while out on his bike yesterday. Simon won three medals for Britain at the Beijing Paralympics and we hope the same determination and strength that have made him such an outstanding athlete will help him pull through this difficult time. Our thoughts are with him and his family."
Everyone at British Cycling would like to echo Gareth's words and send their thoughts to Simon and his family at this difficult time, wishing him a full and speedy recovery.