A GranFondo rider is recovering in hospital after being evacuated of the bike course by helicopter. The cyclist, whose name hasn’t been released, went down as he rode along on Highway 99 just north of Alice Lake.
The B.C. Ambulance Service has confirmed that an air ambulance was dispatched at about 10 a.m. to transport the man to hospital. Witnesses at the scene said the man looked to be about 60 years of age. There was no obvious cause for the crash.
Lindsay Carswell, the GranFondo director of revenue, marketing and communications, said the event participant suffered head injuries after he crashed about two kilometres north of an aid station that was set up near Alice Lake Road. According to Carswell, the injured man went down on his own and he added that no motor vehicles were involved in the crash.
Carswell said responders attended to him and they determined an air ambulance was required to take the man to Vancouver General Hospital.
He said that he doesn’t know much about the situation, as it has become a private family medical issue.
“We’re all hoping that he recovers and we definitely are saddened to hear that occurred,” said Carswell.
The ride got off to a nervous start in Vancouver for many of the participants.
Leah Guloien, the first woman to complete the ride, the road paint in Vancouver was particularly slippery due to early morning rain and showers.
Squamish rider Brandi Heisterman confirmed it was wet and slippery for the first few minutes and kilometres of the ride.
“It was a bit sketchy with the rain,” Heisterman said at the finish line.
“It was more scary than a mountain bike race with the rain,” said Heisterman, who consistently finishes on the podium in regional mountain bike races.
Heisterman was involved in a crash that slowed her up. She said a rider went down right in front of her and she couldn’t get around him.
“It’s sort of humbling when you get involved in a crash,” said Heisterman as she confirmed that the person she collided with in Squamish was hurt and couldn’t carry on.
The 2013 edition of the GranFondo will be remembered as the second event marred by a crash resulting in a serious injury.
John Botelho of Victoria was badly injured in the 2010 event, the inaugural year of the ride. The accomplished endurance athlete crashed on the Upper Levels Highway after he swerved to avoid a water bottle. Botelho suffered serious head injuries.