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Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins injured in bike crash

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 12:45 PM EST, Thu November 8, 2012
Tour de France winner and Olympic gold medalist Bradley Wiggins, pictured at a news conference at the London Olympics.
Tour de France winner and Olympic gold medalist Bradley Wiggins, pictured at a news conference at the London Olympics.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Bradley Wiggins suffered bruised ribs but should make a swift recovery, his team says
  • He was involved in a crash with a car while out cycling, police say
  • Shane Sutton, head coach for the GB Cycling Team, was hurt in a separate accident
  • Wiggins became the first Briton to win the prestigious Tour de France this summer

London (CNN) -- This year's Tour de France winner suffered a bruised hand and ribs when he was knocked off his bike while training in northern England, his professional team said, but no long-lasting problems are expected.

Bradley Wiggins is now out of a hospital and recuperating at home, Team Sky said in a statement.

He was kept in the hospital overnight as a precaution, the statement said.

"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 Dr. Richard Freeman is quoted as saying.

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

Wiggins 1st Briton to win Tour de France
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A spokeswoman for Lancashire police earlier said that Wiggins had suffered broken ribs in the Wednesday evening crash, "but the rest are minor injuries considering what happened."

Wiggins became the first Briton to win the Tour de France this summer, only days before he took his fourth Olympic gold in the time trial event in London -- two feats that transformed him into an international hero.

He is known for his idiosyncratic style, sporting large sideburns and a 1960s-inspired "mod" wardrobe, as well as his prowess in the saddle.

Lancashire police said the 32-year-old had been involved in a collision by a gas station in Wrightington with a vehicle driven by a local woman.

Opinion: Wiggins' victory brings the Games back to the people

The driver was not hurt, and police say she is helping them with their inquiries.

In a painful coincidence, the head coach for the GB Cycling Team, Shane Sutton, was also injured in an accident while cycling in the Manchester area Thursday, the sport's governing body British Cycling said.

He suffered bruising and bleeding on the brain, the body said in a statement, and is likely to remain hospitalized for the next few days, while undergoing more tests.

"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," British Cycling said.

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

Safety is a big issue for cyclists in Britain and elsewhere. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, a road safety group, 107 cyclists died on Britain's roads last year. More than 3,000 others were seriously injured and at least 16,000 were slightly injured.

Wiggins' accident sparked a flurry of comments on Twitter -- some sympathetic, others highlighting the dangers cyclists face on the road, or the risk they pose to other road users if they don't ride responsibly.

Referring to Wiggins by his nickname, the cycling charity Sustrans tweeted: "Wiggo incident shows the government needs to create more safe space for cycling & look at changing the justice system."

Although Wiggins' high-profile victories this summer earned him national and international acclaim, he had previously won three gold medals on the track at the Athens and Beijing Olympics.

Wiggins makes history as Britain wins first golds at London 2012

The grueling Tour de France, watched by millions around the world, is the sport's most prestigious race.

U.S. cyclist Lance Armstrong recently was stripped of his seven Tour de France wins between 1999 and 2005, amid allegations of "professionalized" doping in his U.S. Postal Service team. He denies the claims.

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