World Champ Dislocates Shoulder in Training Accident

by Chipps 27

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

Comments (27)

  1. Ouch, hope she recovers quickly.

  2. oh!! poor Rach, bounce back quick!!

  3. Well, from what I’ve seen/read about Rachel, she’ll bounce back better & stronger than ever before.

    All the same, I feel for her. Nasty, that.

  4. Come on Rach, get better soon. You are my 5 year old daughters inspiration!

  5. be strong Rachael.all the best.

  6. Blimey Charley thats not nice! Me and the kids were wanting you guys on C4 yesterday morning. You get yourself on the mend girl. All the very best wishes, Paul Beth & Lewis

  7. Get well soon Rachel!
    Can I just say ‘Where are your helmets?’ Gee’s hair is far too windblown to have been under a lid…

  8. I thought skinsuits sucked? Full on roadie outfits on the go there. And no helmets, tut-tut!

    Hope she gets well soon though.

  9. tiz but a flesh wound, come back and fight ya pansy!

  10. Helmets could be on the ground…

    But anyway – hope its not as bad as it looks and she is back on top form soon!!!!

  11. All the best Rachel. Heeling vibes on the way :oD

  12. Hope she gets better, but lets be honest … head down and not paying attention to where she’s going ? … shes a bit bloody stupid for cycling in the that manner. On an indoor track, aye fine, head down. On a road with other cars ? pretty reckless.

  13. No lids! Duuurr.

    Lucky escape.

  14. How come people are jumping to conclusions about lack of lids?

  15. Er because they’ve read the website the story links too!
    No helmet and cutting a corner hence on the wrong side of the road – doh!

  16. “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.”

    Bit daft but nonetheless get better soon Rachel.

  17. Hope shes ok, couldnt think of a worst car to hit!

  18. In future I shall read, then type. I stand corrected.

    Get well Soon Rachel. :o)

  19. Hitting a pick-up truck head on! Its pretty lucky this isn’t her obituary.

    Get well soon Rachel.

  20. Out training on a brand new lightweight road bike?
    The Darkside commeth? Watchout Vicky.

  21. So, lets look at the facts…

    – No helmet.
    – Wearing earphones.
    – Riding on the wrong side of the road.

    Darwin?! DARWIN!!!

  22. She IS lucky it wasn’t worse, considering how narrow the roads around Santa Cruz are, and how many blind corners on steep descents there are as well.

  23. Hmmmm. Helmet clasp was broke. Yeah right. Good get out clause IMO to stop her being branded a numpty for not wearing a helmet.

    Get well soon though.

  24. It’s interesting to ride in a country where they drive on the other side of the road from what you are used to. I have had that experience, and when suddenly confronted with a driver coming the other way, I “dodged” directly in front of him as he swerved to his proper side of the road. No harm done except a shaken driver and rider, but a good example that one needs to fight one’s reflexes in that situation. The distractions of the headphones might have been enough to make her forget that.

  25. I am the owner of the pick up that was involved in the accident. I am sure that being on the wrong side of the road was an honest mistake. how ever Rachel has made no attempt to contact me and has not returned several emails that I have written to her team website. In addition almost 2 months later and the CHP report is still not done due to their inability to obtain her contact information.
    this was a mistake but it is her responsibility to pay for damages to my truck witch totaled in over 3,500$ that I can’t afford to fix and shouldn’t have to. She already admitted to her irresponsibility not wearing a helmet how about not paying for the damages she caused.

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