Rider of the year talks about almost quitting after recent crash

Posted on: December 4th, 2016


Grace Young (De Ronde Van Cork) had a year she’s unlikely to ever forget and amongst the many highs was the terrible low of a bad crash at Rás na mBan in September. She is still not fully recovered and admitted she almost walked away from cycling. (Photo: Sean Rowe)


By Brian Canty

Recently crowned Irish female cyclist of the year Grace Young has admitted she contemplated quitting the sport following her horror crash on the penultimate stage of the An Post Rás na mBan in September.

The De Ronde Van Cork rider hit the deck in a huge pile-up that saw the stage neutralised and she was later treated in hospital.

The effects of the crash are still being felt almost four months on, and they are not just physical.

“Physically I felt I had been hit by a bus, in the face,” she recalled of the crash.

“I had two black eyes, a broken nose and multiple lacerations to my forehead, nose and face as well as cuts and bruises all over my body and my ankle got mangled in someone’s spokes so I was on crutches too.

“I had severe headaches and whiplash for weeks afterwards.

“I had to go for multiple scans and tests and mentally, I felt exhausted.

“I have to admit I questioned if I would race again. I won’t know how I’ll feel about being back in the peloton until I rock up to a road race but I’ve been doing a bit of cyclocross and falling off the bike is part and parcel of that and I seem to be okay with it.”

Young still has trouble with her ankle and is due to get another MRI scan soon to determine whether or not there is any lingering damage.

Suffice to say, winning the coveted award – as voted by her peers, was a huge moment.

“I was absolutely thrilled. To be nominated was an honour but winning it was surreal because I had such had strong opposition.”

Indeed, Eileen Burns was third after the voting with the gold-medal winning paracycling pair of Katie-George Dunlevy and Eve McCrystal finishing as runners-up.

“It kind of makes up for how my season was so abruptly ended,” she continued.

“No one wants to crash or face plant so it was great to get some recognition for all my hard work.

“I was very disappointed the way Rás na Mban ended as I was going really well and had more to give, but overall I had a great year of racing.

“It was only my second year and I placed in every race I did.

“I was sixth in the national road race, we got gold in the team category and of course placing in the first stage of Rás na mBan and getting the green jersey were huge moments.”