A CYCLIST was catapulted over a crash barrier at the top of the famous Buttertubs Pass this afternoon (July 3) - landing just short of a 100ft drop.

The high-speed accident was the second in short succession on the descent, which reaches a maximum gradient of 20 per cent.

It prompted a warning to the unprecedented numbers of cyclists tracing the Tour de France route through the Yorkshire Dales to take extra care.

Loading article content

Earlier two cyclists collided towards the bottom of the challenging route. One was airlifted to hospital by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance while the other was taken to hospital by road ambulance. The extent of their injuries are unknown.

Both incidents were attended by Swaledale Mountain Rescue Team (SMRT), who have 25 volunteers already stationed at Buttertubs - which links Wensleydale and Swaledale - in readiness for Saturday's first stage.

Steve Clough, SMRT's rescue controller, said the lone cyclist was just beginning the steep descent when he hit the metal crash barrier. He was also taken to hospital

"He hit the barrier and was catapulted over and was literally a few feet from going down a 100 ft drop," he added.

He described the number of cyclists in the Dales - many of whom are tracing the actual Tour de France route - as unprecedented.

"The roads are extremely busy now and although these accidents did not involve other traffic, they are going to get much busier. Cyclists also need to take care because these are steep and fast descents."