World Championship medallist Lauren Dolan says her cycling career is over after a driver slammed on his brakes in front of her, causing her to crash and leaving her with serious injuries.
Dolan, 21, said she may never cycle again after she was involved in a crash with the driver just two days after winning a bronze medal in the Yorkshire 2019 World Championships.
A court previously heard the motorist, Robert Newton, 73 at the time of the crash, slammed on his brakes after an overtaking manoeuvre, which caused Dolan to hit a traffic island, sending her over the handlebars.
Dolan has since revealed that the crash, which happened in September 2019 between Teignmouth and Dawlish in Devon, said her cycling career is now over, along with her childhood dream of being an Olympian.
She said: “The driver who caused the collision has ended my cycling career and he has only had to pay a fine. I am grateful to be able to get on with my life but you can’t put a price on a young person’s career.
“The crash took away everything from that race [the Worlds], the biggest result of my career.
“I went from elation to complete and utter waste, what happened was so completely overwhelming. I had been at boarding school, spending three weeks at a time in Manchester, where I trained at the velodrome, cycling was my life and I was on the way to fulfilling my childhood dream of cycling in the Olympics. The crash took all of that away, just when I was so elated by winning the bronze medal.
“I have only just started exercising again but I don’t cycle any more, the collision has taken away all of my confidence.
“I have to move on, I can’t help but think ‘what if, what if’, but I have to get on with my life. I hope to go to university and train to be a vet. It will be a completely different life.”
The driver was charged with causing the crash by driving without due care and attention and a court previously heard that on September 24, 2019, he overtook Dolan while she was riding on an A road with her father Mark.
He then braked hard in front of Dolan, causing her to hit a traffic island.
She was left with significant shoulder injuries, gashed elbows and knees, and an initially undiagnosed fracture of her femoral neck near her hip.
After initially attempting to return to racing and still suffering severe pain caused by the fracture near her hip, Dolan has completely lost her confidence and says she doesn’t think she will cycle again.
The driver Newton, of New Road, Teignouth, was found guilty of driving without due care and attention, failing to stop at the scene, and failing to report the crash and was sentenced on Wednesday, March 17 at Plymouth Magistrates' Court.
He was fined a total of £1,079, was given 10 penalty points, paid a victim surcharge of £78, and a £500 contribution to the court costs - totalling £1,667.
Dolan was represented in court by law firm Leigh Day through her British Cycling membership.
Robin Selley from the law firm 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 this incident and her continued recovery and rehabilitation is the next step for her. We hope to be able to obtain a satisfactory outcome for her in the fullness of time but sadly, this kind of driving is becoming all too common on our roads and on this occasion, the actions of the driver have had such a devastating impact on one of the most talented young cyclists to have worn a Great Britain jersey.”
Dolan’s crash happened just 48 hours after she claimed a bronze medal for Great Britain in the World Championships mix team time trial relay, the biggest achievement of her career.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
Commonwealth Games 2022: Georgia Baker wins women’s road race gold medal for Australia
Australia secure gold and bronze medal in dominant performance
By Tom Thewlis • Published
Cycling workout of the week: Under/Overs – improve your ability to recover while still pushing the pace [59 mins]
Do if…you want to improve your threshold power and your capacity to recover at higher intensities
By Andy Turner • Published