A PROFESSIONAL cyclist was lucky to escape with his life after being catapulted from his bike and down a ravine in a crash with a van.

Scott Auld, from Stockton, rides for Ribble Pro Racing, and was near Benidorm, Spain on a training ride when the accident happened.

Auld and his team-mates were cycling in a group at about 50kph when they were confronted by the van which they said was partly on their side of the road.

“We were riding two abreast and around a swooping left-hand corner, doing 50 to 55kph,” recalled Auld.

“A van came around in the opposite direction, about a metre or two onto our side of the road.

“I remember seeing him coming as clear as day.

“We braked, readjusted and for a split-second I thought ‘we’ve missed him’. I was second wheel and my friend’s arm caught the wing mirror. It completely smashed apart. As I was turning he has clipped my back wheel and I have flown over my friend.

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“The last thing I remember was flying towards this sign post and thinking ‘this is really going to hurt’. I clipped the sign post and, we are in Spain and so the hills are quite large, and I have gone off the side and landed on rocks and stuff.”

Auld was discovered by a team-mate lying face down.

“Luckily, one of our friends dropped his chain over the top of the climb. He was about a minute behind,” he said. “He came down afterwards and saw all the bikes in the road. He said at first he didn’t even know where I was. He was like: ‘Where’s Scott?’

“He looked over the ravine and he saw me laid face down in a pool of blood. He woke me up and we eventually got an ambulance out and I was taken to Benidorm hospital. At the time, because I was full of adrenaline, I didn’t think it was too bad. But then about nine people came and stood around me and I thought ‘Oooh, I must be pretty banged up’.”

Auld said he hoped to be back on his bike sooner rather than later – he is due to compete in a UCI race in France on March 10.

“The main issue is sight, I can’t really see anything,” he said. “I have a cast on my arm, but it doesn’t hurt. I have set myself the target of getting back on the turbo trainer on Tuesday and will do some walking up to then. I will take it day by day, but I want to be back training as soon as possible, I don’t want to be missing too much time for a stupid accident like this.”

As for how he will feel getting back on his bike for the first time, Auld said: “It was just one of those things. There was nothing I could have done about it, it could happen as you are walking down the street. It may make me a little more alert, but hopefully it won’t affect me in a negative way.”

Auld said he hoped lessons would be learned as a consequence of the crash.

"People sometimes just see us as cyclists, but we are more than that," he said, "I have a family. God forbid, if it had been worse, my family would have been without me. Drivers sometimes don't see that."