Dame Laura Kenny has admitted she almost pulled out her Commonwealth Games race after the terrifying crash saw England’s Matt Walls go over the railings and into the crowd at the Lee Valley VeloPark on Sunday.
Walls was said to be “alert and talking” in hospital after the incident, which caused the rest of the morning session of racing to be cancelled as he received treatment in the stands for 40 minutes before being taken to hospital.
Two spectators, including a young girl, received treatment for injuries in the velodrome while two other riders – the Isle of Man’s Matt Bostock and Canada’s Derek Gee – were taken to hospital after several riders had crashed during qualifying for the men’s scratch race.
Kenny, having seen sprinter Joe Truman knocked unconscious in a crash on Saturday, says the incidents put a doubt in her mind about continuing with her race.
Dame Laura Kenny says she considered pulling out of her Commonwealth Games race
The 24-year-old Olympic omnium champion went into the crowd by trying to avoid riders in a crash lower down
There were children sat in the front row where Wells went flying over the barrier during the shocking crash on Sunday
‘It was horrendous. It was playing on my mind earlier, I messaged Jason and said ‘I’m not sure I even want to do this.’
‘It just puts everything into perspective when something like that happens. I’m just glad he was conscious straight away because the Joe (Truman) crash was enough.
“It’s a dangerous sport, we all know it’s dangerous. When you’re not feeling physically fit enough to put yourself at the front of it, you wonder why you’re doing it.’
The 30-year-old believes that better safety measures should now be introduced and has called for bigger barriers and screens to be fitted in velodromes. Her fear is the sport is growing more dangerous and said action must be taken.
England cyclist Matt Walls landed in the crowd during the final lap in the men’s 15km race and is in hospital for treatment
‘I think the crashes are getting worse and it’s because the speeds are getting higher, the positions (on the bike) are getting more extreme,” the five-time Olympic champion said. “Some of the pursuit positions people are getting in, you see people crashing into the back of people.
‘At some point the UCI are going to have to put a cap on these positions. Maybe there should be screens because Matt should not have been able to go over the top and into the crowd, that’s pretty damn dangerous.
‘It’s the third time now I’ve been in a velodrome and witnessed someone go over the top…
‘(Matt) was laughing and making jokes with the paramedics which is brilliant to hear but if he’d (not gone over) he would have done less damage and certainly done less damage to the little girl’.
Fortunately there were no major injuries sustained by any of the spectators who were caught up in the incident
Canada’s Derek Gee nearly followed Well over the top and into the stands but instead fell heavily backwards
The crash happened when several riders ahead of Walls collided going into a corner. The 24-year-old Olympic omnium champion tried to avoid the stricken pair of New Zealander George Jackson and Australia’s Josh Duffy but was carrying too much speed and was forced up the banking.
Witnesses said that, because of the gradient of the banking, spectators in the front row had been unsighted as Walls sped towards them. One man needed treatment for cuts to his arm and a young girl also received medical attention for minor injuries.
Walls landed in a section of seating which was not fully occupied – potentially avoiding more serious consequences.
Gee also surfed the top of the barrier but avoided following Walls over it. Gee’s team-mate Mathias Guillemette was disqualified from the race for causing the initial crash.
Joe Truman was knocked unconscious after colliding with Australia’s Matthew Glaetzer at around 45mph
This is the moment Truman slammed into the wooden banking of the velodrome at 45mph
Joe Truman of Team England is taken away by medics after a crash in the Men’s Keirin
A statement from Team England said: “Matt is alert and talking – as he has been throughout – and is being given medical attention in hospital.”
The Isle of Man team said Bostock had a CT scan from which the initial prognosis was positive.
Kenny put her lowly 13th-placed finish in the women’s points race down to poor form, but said the incident had been on her mind when she came to the velodrome for the afternoon session.
Kenny (second from left) celebrates winning the bronze medal for the 1000m Time Trial
‘I messaged Jason and said, ‘I’m not sure I want to do this’,” she said. “It puts everything into perspective when something like that happens. I’m just glad he was conscious straightaway because Joe (Truman’s) crash yesterday was enough to make you think.
‘We all know it’s a dangerous sport so when you’re not feeling physically fit to put yourself at the front of it you can’t help but think, ‘Why am I doing this?’
In a statement, a Birmingham 2022 spokesperson said: “Following a crash at the morning session of track and para track cycling at the Lee Valley VeloPark, three cyclists and two spectators have been treated by the onsite medical team.
‘The three cyclists have been taken to hospital. The two spectators did not require hospital treatment…
‘We would like to send our best wishes to the cyclists and spectators involved in this incident and to thank the medical team for their swift action.’