Former top Irish cyclist’s X-ray reveals shooting injuries to legs

Posted on: November 8th, 2018

The white dots on his X-ray are the pellets still lodged in Ian Richardson’s legs some 15 years after being shot in a hunting accident.


A powerful rider against the watch and a winner of some very big road races, an X-ray of Ian Richardson’s legs shows they are very different to other bike riders.

Richardson has stepped back from racing of late but is still fostering talent in UCD Cycling Club, the outfit he raced for.

And in a bid to motivate some of the younger guns and show them what can be achieved, he’s shown them this X-ray, taken last January.

It reveals much of what he overcame to become one of the best Irish riders in the Rás a few years ago and to win races like the overall title at the Suir Valley Three Day.

When he was 15 years old he was shot in a hunting accident. And the pellets from the shotgun blast are what you can see in these X-rays.

“One of the pellets have moved into my left knee cap and was causing pain,” he told stickybottle of the reason for the X-ray now being used to motivate other UCD riders.

“I had a type of gel injected into the knee which seemed to force it out. But they could potentially move back into the joints at any point in my life.”

Richardson was missing from the peloton this year. And when asked if he was coming back any time soon, he wasn’t making any promises.

“It’s doubtful I’ll race on the road again; the training commitment it too high,” he said. “Track or off-road is a possibility.

“I’ve mostly been running and I’ll start doing running races next year. I’ve also been managing the crop of young riders coming into UCD.”


Ian Richardson comes home top county man again into Tipperary on the Rás in 2015, while in the county leader’s jersey (Photo: George Doyle)


The shooting incident 15 years ago had lasting consequences for him that went beyond his obvious injuries.

About 300 pellets lodged in his legs, causing him very considerable pain for a number of years.

That pain impacted his mobility, and with that he began to gain weight. He topped out at 17½ stone; not great for his self-esteem as a teenager and young man.

But when he was 21 years old and a college student, he became interested in triathlon. That resulted in a proper training regime, during which the weight came off.

He represented Ireland in the swim-run-cycle discipline in age-related events. In 2010 he finished 5th in the European Championships in the 20-24 years age category.

The following year he combined triathlon with cycling for one season before focussing exclusively on bike races from 2011 onwards.

As well as several county rider awards in the Rás Tailteann, he was also 10th overall in the event in 2015.

And the following year – when he also won the Suir Valley among a string of victories – he would get to represent Ireland in a series of races in the United States.

From Slane in Co Meath but living in Dublin, the 23-year-old combined his racing with a Phd is in the genetics of tuberculosis in cattle, which he completed in Trinity College, Dublin.

That undertaking followed an undergraduate degree in biochemistry in UCD and a Masters in biotechnology, also in UCD.


Time trialling in the green of Ireland at the World University Championships in Poland in 2014.

Richardson – front row, second from left – competing for Ireland in triathlon back in 2010.