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Murray on the mend but will miss weekend’s Cape Town event
- Updated: April 18, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
South Africa’s main medal hope in the Rio 2016 Olympics triathlon, Richard Murray is on the mend after a high speed crash in Australia last weekend and although he’ll miss Sunday’s Cape Town leg of the Discovery World Triathlon he’s in a race against time to get back to full fitness.
The multi-talented Cape Town athlete has had a great start to the year with a WTS podium finish in Abu Dhabi and then a World Cup win in New Plymouth, New Zealand.
His crash, where he suffered a broken collar bone [See X-ray above] and cracked bones in his hand, came on lap three of the 40-kilometre cycle leg at the Gold Coast leg of the series.
‘I took the corner at a speed of 47km/h on laps one and two which was about the right speed but then in lap three I went in at about 53/54km/h and exited at 52km/h which was too fast on my 24mm tyres.
‘The first races of the season I’ve been running on 26mm with more grip. I didn’t do a bike course check the day before, as it was very early and decided to sleep rather to recover from New Plymouth race.
‘The result was an over-cooked corner, on top of the hoods and not on the drops by the breaks where I should have been.This resulting in a wider line and no way to slow the speed coming in. Going hand first into the fence I almost managed to save the crash cracking my hand in the process but slowing the crash speed.
‘Over the handlebars I went , landing on my left shoulder and head in front of the bunch which was luckily on my right side.
‘I got up quickly, picked the bike up and noticed the front handlebars were bent. I tried to straighten them but didn’t have enough power in my left arm as the collarbone was broken.
‘I jumped onto my bike and tried to pedal to get into the back of bunch, but the chain had come off and the rear tyre was slashed from hitting the barriers which I hit so with too many things gone wrong I decided to stop the race. With a big bump on my left shoulder I realised my collarbone was broken.’
Murray called for the medics and then went through the barriers where he sat next a car in a parking lot with a spectators and locals who had come out of their businesses to see what was happening.
But 20-30 minutes later there was still no medical help. ‘I just asked people to keep telling me jokes to take my mind of the fact that I’d destroyed my collarbone, hand, not to mention my street cred for cycling,’ he reflected with a wry humour.
‘Eventually I stood up and decided to walk back to the venue some 1km walk where found the ITU medics heading in my direction.’
Murray takes full responsibility for his crash. ‘It was my fault, something I could have controlled, but we were so close to closing the gap to the front pack of guys that I got over excited and made mistakes. With six podiums in a row, and feeling great, sometimes things go south and you need to sit back and think of the good times and what’s to come next.
‘I’d like to thank everyone once again for the love and help people over past few days, I’m feeling a lot better already.’
Murray flew back to South Africa, broken collarbone and and all and underwent an operation last week.
The operation was performed by the trusted hands of Dr Rocco de Villiers in Durbanville.
‘He’s a friend of my father and also fixed his collarbone a while back. He also bought my mountain bike from me and we were cracking jokes before surgery.’
Sunday’s races are sprint events, making for some spectacular all-out racing. Elite women and men will swim 750m, bike 20km and run 5km compared to the Olympic distances of 1500m, 40km and 10km.
The women go off at 2.06pm and the men at 4.36pm.