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Wiggins leaves hospital, coach Sutton in crash

By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - Bradley Wiggins was released from hospital on Thursday following his bike crash as British Cycling announced that Shane Sutton, the team's head coach, had also been knocked off his bike and injured.

Wiggins, who won the Tour de France and Olympic time trial gold this year, spent Wednesday night in hospital with minor rib injuries and cuts and bruises after being hit by a van outside a petrol station while on a training ride near his home in Lancashire, northern England.

"Bradley has been discharged from hospital after suffering minor injuries, including bruises to his right hand and ribs, but is expected to make a full and speedy recovery," Team Sky's Doctor Richard Freeman said in a statement on the team's website (www.teamsky.com)

"He is now going to spend the weekend at home convalescing with his family."

British Cycling confirmed the incident involving Sutton on the A6 road near Levenshulme in Manchester.

"Shane was taken into hospital where it was identified he has suffered bruising and bleeding on the brain," a statement said. "Shane was wearing a helmet. He is set to undergo more tests, and is likely to stay in hospital for the next few days.

"It is extremely rare that our riders and coaches are hurt while out cycling on the road, even rarer that two incidents should occur in a short space of time, and we wish Shane and Bradley a speedy recovery."

IMPROVE CONDITIONS

The statement also called for more to be done to improve conditions on the road for cyclists.

"Cycling is not an intrinsically dangerous activity but there is much more to be done to improve conditions for cyclists on the roads," it said.

"British Cycling is calling on the government to put cycling at the heart of transport policy to ensure that cycle safety is built into the design of all new roads, junctions and transport projects, rather than being an afterthought."

On Thursday Lancashire police confirmed Wiggins had been in a collision with a white Vauxhall Astra van.

The Daily Telegraph quoted the female van driver as saying: "I can't believe it. Of all the people to hit, bloody Bradley Wiggins."

Yasmin Smith, 21, an attendant at the garage, told the local Lancashire Evening News that Wiggins had to wait 15 minutes for an ambulance.

"I was in the back room making a cup of tea when I heard the screeching of a tire and a massive bang," she said. "I shot out of the garage and I saw a gentleman sitting on the pavement. He was going a bit blue, his color was changing.

"The wing mirror was cleaned off the van so it must have been at force (that he was hit). I put my arm around him and said 'come on back to the car'. He was in pain and said ‘I think I've broken my ribs.'"

Speaking on British television channel ITV, Smith said the van driver was shaken by the incident.

"She was very upset, even more upset when the police actually said 'do you realize who you've hit?'," she said. "That really put her back, because obviously she felt bad enough."

(Additional reporting by Mike Collett; Editing by Ed Osmond/Alison Wildey/Alan Baldwin)

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