Stuart O’Grady says ‘varying ability’ of athletes to blame for Commonwealth Games crashes

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Olympic gold medallist Stuart O’Grady believes a varying ability of cyclists at the Commonwealth Games has contributed to spectacular crashes during the Birmingham event.

O’Grady made the claim on Monday after a spectacular crash saw three cyclists taken to hospital and spectators injured after a bike left the velodrome track and tumbled over the barriers.

“We have got a varying ability of athlete at the Commonwealth Games, more so than Olympics and World Championships,” O’Grady told Channel 7’s Sunrise.

“We may not be at the level as the big international superstars, so when you are racing on a few millimetres of tire on bikes with no breaks and high-pressure incidents, things can go wrong really quickly.”

group of riders crash into each other
England’s Matt Walls heads for the barrier trying to avoid riders who had fallen in a crash lower down the banking.(AP: Ian Walton)
Two riders lie on the ground and one ends up in the crowd after a crash
The 24-year-old Englishmen heads into the crowd as his Canadian opponent approaches from behind. (AP: Ian Walton)
Group of riders crash into each other,  one rider ends up in crowd
The crowd desperately try to steer clear of Walls.(AP: Ian Walton)

England’s Matt Walls and Isle of Man’s Matt Bostock were involved in the crash, along with several other riders.

Walls was catapulted over the barriers and into the crowd at the Lee Valley VeloPark. The 24-year-old received treatment for more than 40 minutes before leaving the velodrome in an ambulance.

“[Some riders are] just not used to the pressures of the Commonwealth Games, these guys don’t race together often,” O’Grady said.

“You get a mixed bag of riders and ability. That is all the ingredients you need to cause these crashes, which look spectacular, but people can get really badly hurt. And if you’re good, that would be annoying to get taken out by some bloke.”

[ABCnews]

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