Rocky rider?s miracle escape

AN HORRIFIC cycling accident in Germany has jeopardised the cycling career of Rockhampton's Lorian Graham.

Lorian's family members and Rockhampton's tight-knit cycling community were in shock, but also felt relief, yesterday as Lorian, 27, underwent surgery in a German hospital.

Australia's reigning women's road cycling champion was re- ported to be in a stable condition despite having two broken collarbones, received fractures in her knees and fingers along with multiple abrasions.

It was still a lucky escape for Lorian with her AIS team-mate Amy Gillett, of Victoria, killed in the accident, and two other teammates remaining in critical condition.

The six-member AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) squad had been on a training run when a car, driven by an 18year-old woman, entered from a slip road on the opposite side of the road.

The driver, who had passed her test just four weeks ago, apparently lost control of her car and crossed into the lane where the team was riding, ploughing into the bunch of Australian riders.

Lorian had listed an injury-free year as one of her goals on the Australian Institute of Sport's website.

Her other two goals were to "secure a spot for the 2005 world championships team and make the 2006 Commonwealth Games team'' ? two goals now shattered.

Lorian's mother, Lorna Graham, of Rockhampton, said Lor- ian had spoken to her sister Lisa in Brisbane before she went into surgery.

"She'll (Lorian) be devastated with the accident, she spent a lot of time with Amy,'' Lorna said.

"It could even be the end of her career after this accident.''

Like so many times with Lorian she was just starting to peak before this latest accident.

After she won this year's Australian road title she was cleaned up by a car during a training run in Brisbane which sidelined her with a broken collarbone.

"Her last text message before this latest accident said: 'I have bigger fish to fry in Germany' after she finished 18th from 125 riders in her last race,'' Lorna said.

"It's upsetting because most times cyclists are blamed for being on the road, but a lot of the times these things happen and it's not the cyclists' fault.''

Cycling Australia has offered to fly Lorna to Germany.

However she said that she would wait until she received advice from doctors before deciding whether or not to go over to be with her daughter who is affectionately known by team-mates as "LG'' ? short for Life's Good.

The first stage of the race was cancelled yesterday. A com- memoration service for Amy Gillett was held in its place.

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