‘I went straight through the boarding and broke my back’: From horror crash to Olympic hopeful

Philip Heijnen has battled physical and mental challenges to be on the track today

Philip Heijnen crashing at the 2022 UCI Track World Championships in Paris
Heijnen at the 2022 Track World Championships, seven months after breaking his back
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A little over a year ago, Philip Heijnen took a photo that almost changed his life. 

The Dutchman had spent four days in a hospital bed, twisting and turning with four broken bones in his spine. From his phone, he watched as his track team-mates lived out their dreams - his dreams, too. The time gave him space to think, and cycling, he decided, was no longer for him. 

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Tom Davidson
Senior News Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.