World Champ Dislocates Shoulder in Training Accident

January 19, 2009

World Champ hurt in training accident

Ouch. That's going to hurt. Rachel at the roadside
Ouch. That's going to hurt. Rachel at the roadside

Current World Champion Rachel Atherton sustained a dislocated shoulder yesterday when she was involved in a training accident with a car. The Atherton trio have been training hard in Santa Cruz California since the start of January and yesterday was no exception. Details are sketchy but it seems Rachel hit the car head on with her brand new Cervelo road bike taking the brunt of the damage. Rach has an appointment with the specialist today and hopes to be up and ready for the first round of the World Cup in April, further updates on Rach can be found at

Photo: Sven Martin

According to local paper, the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

Atherton… had just started a 14-mile loop with her brothers and teammates… Apparently, she drifted into the wrong lane while rounding a corner and came into the path of a southbound 1999 Ford Ranger pickup, the CHP reported.

Atherton hit the windshield on the passenger side of the pickup, shattering the glass into a spider-web pattern.

She dislocated her shoulder and suffered cuts to her head and face, and was flown to San Jose Medical Center for treatment. Monday, she was scheduled to see a specialist about her shoulder injury, according to Dan Brown, the manager of the her team, Animal Commencal.

Rachel’s brand new Cervelo road bike was written-off, with the forks snapped at the steerer…

“I feel so lucky that I didn’t come off any worse than I did,” Atherton said. “There was a lot of blood and cuts but it is not too bad.”

The CHP reported she was not wearing a helmet. However, CHP officer Hugh Holden pointed out cyclists over 18 are not required to wear a helmet even though most serious cyclists choose to use the safety equipment.

In January, Singletrack magazine awarded Atherton the title Mountain Biker of the Year for the second year in a row and last month, she was named BBC Midlands Sportswoman of the Year.

Report by Jennifer Squires – Sentinel Staff Writer, who also gave us this exclusive (well, in the UK) quote as to why Rachel wasn’t wearing a helmet…

Update on the helmet thing…

Apparently she wasn’t wearing a helmet because the clasp on it broke between her warm-up and the ride. Rachel told the Sentinel: “I cannot stress enough how lucky I was that I wasn’t hurt more seriously, and from now on I will never take the chance again, even if it means driving back and getting a different helmet.” 

Full story On the Santa Cruz Sentinel website  who will shortly have a new story up about Rachel, so check back soon.

For a video of Rachel after her crash and surveying her broken road bike, see this report in Litter Mag

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