“I remember seeing the car. It pulled across the road and I thought ‘it’s just going to slow down, let us go past and then continue going across the road.’ Then it just didn’t stop.”
These are the words of 20-year-old Emma Trott, one of the five Team GB women hit by a car while descending between Oudenaarde and Brakel on Friday morning.
The accident left her with a broken collarbone and concussion.
Recalling the crash, she continued: “The car hit Hannah [Mayho], who was on the front, next to Katie [Colclough]. As it knocked those two out of the way, because I was on Hannah’s wheel, I rode into the side of the car.”
“I don’t remember hitting the car, I don’t remember landing on the floor… I barely remember getting into the ambulance. I just don’t remember a lot.”
“The driver completely misjudged how fast we were going: I said we were dong 45-50km/h to the police officer.”
The girls were our riding in full British team kit.
“I think we’re still in shock. If we hadn’t been wearing helmets, myself and Katie would be dead,” she suggested.
After the accident, Trott was left “looking like she’d gone through ten rounds with Mike Tyson,” according to team manager Simon Cope.
“The bruising has gone down loads compared to what I looked like on Friday. My lip was double size, the whole left side of my face was three times bigger than it should have been,” Trott said.
Making good progress
The worst affected by the crash was Hannah Mayho (19 years old), who sustained a broken femur, arm and wrist. After undergoing successful leg operation, Trott reports that her team-mate is “making massive steps every single day. She’s walked out the door and halfway down the corridor and back again today; she can now flex her foot again.”
Meanwhile, Lucy Martin (20) suffered a crushed vertebrae. “She [Martin] is just getting bored of lying and looking at the ceiling, but she’s got to take precautions with her back.”
“Sarah [Reynolds] came out quite lightly physically, but mentally, it could take her time. Bless her, she can remember hitting the car and the floor. She got up, made sure we were all right and ended up sitting up with me, because even though Hannah was bad, I was worse. I was out cold and bleeding from the head apparently. We’re physically scarred but she’s going to be mentally scarred.”
Katie Colclough (20) suffered bad concussion, but has allegedly already been back on her bike. “She’s crazy,” Trott smiled.
Two weeks ago, Trott surprised the likes of Marianne Vos and Nicole Cooke to win the time-trial stage of the Gracia Orlova. She was one of several affected team members meant to be flying to France for the Tour de l’Aude. However, events have ruled that out of the question.
Instead, today she faces a further collarbone-pinning operation. “I want to get back on my bike,” super-active Trott lamented. “They say I can get on the turbo on Saturday. As long as I can get on a bike and train.”
“I reckon I’ll be back on the road in three or four weeks, if I’m lucky,” she added. The Essex-born rider has a positive attitude about her enforced layout: “The season’s not over till October. It feels like you’re losing a lot [of time], but I’ll be racing in July.”
The media interest in Friday’s crash has stunned Trott. It made front-page news in Belgian papers and cycling press across the world.
The injured riders have subsequently received a bevy of cards and presents from well-wishers. “Chocolates and biscuits and everything… I’m sick and tired of chocolate and biscuits! I’m on the verge of eating fruit,” she joked.
Her sense of humour is evidently undamaged by the crash. “Hey girls, we want a little bit more coverage, let’s hit the deck again!”
After a couple of days thinking about it to “get it out of her head”, Trott is ready to move on. “There’s no point dwelling on it now. We’re all positive; all five of us are so close. We were close before, but now we’re even closer. Life has been put into perspective for us – it could have been a lot worse.”
Five British riders hit by car in Belgium
Team GB women recovering after car collision