Former pro cycling champion Dean Downing says he's lucky to be alive after a collision with a van whilst out training

Former British champion Dean ‘Deano’ Downing has said he is lucky to be alive after he was allegedly run off the road by a van on Friday (17th July 2015) whilst out training, resulting in a damaged ligaments to his left knee.

Dean who retired last year from racing after a career of victories at home and abroad including the British circuit race championships twice and the Lincoln GP, was riding just outside Blyth, Notts when the incident occurred.

Dean was cycling behind his training partner Leigh Holmes when a traffic management van began to overtake them but suddenly cut back in to the left to avoid a bollard in the middle of the road.

Leigh was struck by the van but managed to stay upright. Dean was directly behind Leigh to the rear of the van and had to swerve sharply to the left to avoid being hit by it. In doing so he lost control of his bike, swerved to the right, hit the bollard and then a lamppost.

The van driver didn’t stop and is still to be identified. Dean was taken to hospital where his injuries were assessed and he was found to have sustained knee ligament damage as well as grazing to his legs and arms.

Dean will now have an MRI scan at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and will be looked after at HMT hospitals, supporters of the JLT Condor pro cycling team and the Polypipe cycling squad.

Dean is now in touch with his legal team through his British Cycling membership to make a claim for the repairs to his bike and other losses through the crash.

Dean said: “I could have been killed, as I hit the bollard and lamppost and landed in middle of other side of road. I was very lucky there was no oncoming traffic or I could have been more seriously injured.”

Andrew Bradley head of the cycling team at law firm Leigh Day, who is dealing with Dean’s claim, said: “We are currently investigating the incident and will be in touch with the Police to try and track down the responsible driver and to establish exactly what happened, and we hope to get Dean back on his bike as soon as possible”.

Dean concluded: “I would like to thank all the guys I was riding with that day and all my family and friends for the help over the weekend.”