Collision sadly ends promising cycling career

Senior Sportsperson of the Year, 1st - Lauren Dolan (Mid Devon Cycling Club) during the Teignbridge

Senior Sportsperson of the Year, 1st - Lauren Dolan (Mid Devon Cycling Club) during the Teignbridge Sports Awards 2017 at Langstone Cliff Hotel on December 1st 2017, Dawlish, Devon (Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK) - Credit: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

Former Great Britain cyclist and World Championship medallist Lauren Dolan says that a road accident in South Devon 18 months ago has ended her career.

Robert Newton was found guilty of driving without due care and attention, failure to stop and failure to report an accident by Plymouth Magistrates - he has been fined £1,079, £78 victim's surcharge, £500 towards court costs and had ten penalty points added to his licence.

Newton, 73, aggressively overtook Dolan, who was on a training ride between Dawlish and Teignmouth in September 2019, 48 hours after she won a bronze medal in the Mixed Team Time Trial at the World Road Championships in Yorkshire.

He then broke hard in front of Dolan, causing her to hit a traffic island to avoid hitting the car.

She suffered injuries to her shoulder, elbows and knees, fractured her femur, and it was only discovered later that she had also sustained a neck fracture.

Dolan, now 21, from Bickington near Newton Abbot, said in a statement released by law firm Leigh Day: "The driver who caused the crash has ended my cycling career.

"I am grateful to be able to get on with my life, but the crash took away everything from that race, the biggest result of my career.

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"What happened was so completely overwhelming.  Cycling was my life, and I was on my way to fulfilling my childhood dream of cycling in the Olympic Games.

"The crash took all of that away.

"I have only just started exercising again, but I don't ride any more - the collision has taken away all my confidence.

"I have to move on, but I can't help but think 'What if, what if..?'."

Dolan, who began her medal-laden career with the local Mid-Devon CC, had represented Great Britain at home and abroad as a junior and senior.

She recovered from a series of racing injuries, including a spectacular one when she bravely finished the Junior Time Trial at the 2017 World Championships in Oslo, despite opening up gashes in her leg after hitting a manhole cover in an unlit tunnel.

Dolan rode professionally for teams in Denmark and Spain, and was tipped to join the Women's World Tour after her performance at the 2019 Worlds.

Robin Selley of Leigh Day said: "Although I am pleased this aggressive and impatient act has been recognised by the court, the actions of this driver have robbed a talented, young cyclist of her dreams and future career in professional cycling.

"Lauren continues to suffer from the injuries sustained in the incident.

"We hope to be able to obtain a satisfactory outcome for her in the fullness of time.

"Sadly, this kind of driving is becoming all too common on our roads.  On this occasion, the actions of the driver have had a devastating impact to one of the most talented young cyclists to wear a Great Britain jersey."

Dolan is now preparing for a university interview - she wants to study and train to become a vet.