Will Bjergfelt: Para-cyclist to ride in World Championships four years after serious crash

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Will Bjergfelt: 'I was told I would never race again' after road collision

After Will Bjergfelt was involved in a head-on collision with a car that left him with a bleed on the brain and a shattered leg, doctors thought he may never cycle again.

In September 2015, he was cycling downhill in the Mendips in Somerset when he hit the car - the relative speed between him and the oncoming vehicle has been estimated at more than 70mph.

His tibia was shattered into 25 pieces and he was told he would be lucky to walk again properly, let alone race.

But four months later he was back on his bike and four years on he is a medal contender at the Para-cycling World Championships, which began in the Netherlands on Wednesday.

Bristol's Bjergfelt - who competes in the C5 classification because of his lower right leg impairment - will race in Thursday's individual time trial and Sunday's road race.

The 40-year-old, who previously competed in mountain biking's XCO World Cup series before the road collision, is one of 17 British riders entered into the championships in Emmen in the Netherlands.

Dame Sarah Storey - who competes in the women's C5 classification for athletes with a similar level of limb impairment to Bjergfelt - is also in the squad, bidding to defend her road race and time trial titles.

At this week's championships, Britain's Katie Toft and Steve Bate - piloted by Adam Duggleby - will join Storey in bidding to defend their world titles from 2018.

The championships come just less than a year before next summer's Paralympics games in Tokyo, where Bjergfelt is hoping to race on the track as well as on the road, but flying out to Japan looked impossible as he lay in hospital in the autumn of 2015.

Will Bjergfelt
Before his life-threatening accident, Bjergfelt raced in mountain biking's XCO World Cup series

"From what I'm told, I was flipped up on to the windscreen like a rag-doll, and then over the roof and down the road," Bjergfelt told BBC Points West.

"The closing speed was estimated to be between 70-80mph so it was enough to nearly take my lower right leg off completely.

"I always wear a helmet - had I not been wearing a helmet that day, I wouldn't be here, it's really simple. I'd had a brain bleed, fractured my pelvis on both sides and fractured my left femur.

"Just below the knee joint, the bone had been shattered in to 25-30 pieces.

"My wife was prepped for me to come out of surgery without my lower right leg, but whilst the surgeon was in at the time he took a gamble, in his own words, that he could maybe save it.

"He ran three titanium plates down the length of the lower tibula and fibia, to try and put it back together again, and then around 25 screws went in to hold all the fragments together.

"Then it was 'fingers crossed' and a waiting game. I got told three or four days before Christmas that I was going to be able to keep my leg.

"In the hospital, initially I was told I would never race a bike again, be lucky to ride a bike again or walk again properly.

"But I was always very determined. British Cycling were incredible for me, and I'm one of those people that if you tell me I can't do something, I go and do it."

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