English cyclist Matt Walls was involved in a horror crash at the Commonwealth Games on Sunday when he was catapulted over the barriers and into the crowds at the Lee Valley VeloPark.
The Olympic omnium champion, competing in the men’s 15km scratch qualifiers at the London venue, received treatment for more than 40 minutes before being taken away by ambulance.
Spectators were also hurt after Walls and his bike came over the top of the barriers on the high banking of a corner.
Two other riders — the Isle of Man’s Matt Bostock and Canada’s Derek Gee — were also taken to hospital, while two spectators were treated for minor injuries at the velodrome.
A statement from Team England said: “Following medical treatment in hospital, Matt Walls has been discharged with stitches in his forehead, scrapes and bruises but thankfully no major injuries.”
The Isle of Man team said Bostock had a CT scan from which the initial prognosis was positive.
Witnesses said that because of the gradient of the banking, spectators in the front row had been unsighted for the crash.
– Crowd injuries –
One man received treatment for cuts to his arm while a young girl also received medical attention.
Walls had been trying to avoid riders who had fallen. The stricken pair of New Zealand’s George Jackson and Australia’s Josh Duffy slid up the banking, forcing Walls up on to the barrier and then over it.
Gee also surfed the top of the barrier but managed to avoid following Walls into the stands but he fell heavily.
A Birmingham 2022 spokesman said in a statement that three cyclists and two spectators had been treated by the on-site medical team.
“The three cyclists have been taken to hospital. The two spectators did not require hospital treatment,” the statement added.
Canadian Mathias Guillemette was disqualified from the race for causing the initial crash and the rest of the morning session was cancelled.
British five-time Olympic gold medallist Laura Kenny, who is competing for England at the Commonwealths, called for bigger barriers or screens to be fitted in velodromes to improve safety.
Kenny, speaking a day after England’s Joe Truman was knocked unconscious in a crash, fears the sport is growing more dangerous.
“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,” she said.
“Some of the pursuit positions people are getting in, you see people crashing into the back of people.
“At some point the UCI (cycling’s governing body) 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.”
Australia dominated the afternoon session, with Georgia Baker taking gold in the women’s 25km points race and Kristina Clonan winning the women’s 500m time trial in a time of 33.234sec.
Australia’s Matthew Richardson won the men’s sprint, denying Trinidad and Tobago’s Nicholas Paul a second gold of the Games.
New Zealand’s Corbin Strong won the men’s 15km scratch to leave the Kiwis on six cycling golds, one behind Australia.
Most of the events at the Commonwealths are being held in Birmingham but the track cycling is taking place in London.