New Great Britain bike racer Harrison Wood is aiming to be back in action in a month, despite sustaining a catalogue of injuries as he tried to pull off a major victory in eastern Europe.
Harrison, 21, from Torquay, had to be airlifted to hospital in the Czech Republic after a final-stage crash in the coveted Course De La Paix (The Peace Race) left him with a broken collarbone and eye socket, extensive bruising and suffering from concussion.
On his GB debut, Wood went into the last hilly stage in eighth place, less than a minute down on leader and eventual winner Lennert Van Eetvelt from Belgium.
On top form recently, Harrison had tried to shake up the race once before he crashed, although the exact details of the accident are still unknown.
“I don’t remember anything from the race, only waking up in hospital,” he said.
Harrison’s father Rob this week undertook the long journey to collect Harrison and bring him home.
“I’ll see a specialist in Torquay when I get back, to decide what’s best for my recovery,” said Harrison.
“But I think I’ll be out for about a month – I’m going to aim for the beginning of July.”
Beaten into second place by only six seconds in Spain’s Tour of Navarre last week, Harrison had stayed with a select group of leaders until the last few kilometres of the penultimate ‘Queen’ stage of the Peace Race, finishing 42 seconds down.
“I can’t complain, being up here with the best under-23 climbers in the world,” he said.
There was some consolation for Harrison’s GB squad – although no one could replace him in the top 10 overall, his teammate Sam Watson eventually won the final stage in a sprint.
There is also much for Harrison to look forward to over the second half of the season.
He is due to ride more races with his French team AVC Aix-en-Provence, and the way he rode on his GB debut at the weekend will give him a chance of repeat selection for the national team in major events like France’s Tour de L’Avenir.
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