Former Norfolk cyclist Victoria Williamson faces third operation, but pledges to return to the track
Cyclist Victoria Williamson has thanked colleagues and fans for their messages of support as she continues her recovery from a serious crash at race in Holland.
While her dream of competing in the Rio Olympics is in tatters, the 22-year-old has pledged she will return to the track.
The Norfolk-born rider, originally from Hevingham, suffered a fractured pelvis and vertebrae and a severe cut to her right side during a sprint heat at the Rotterdam Six-Day event earlier this month.
She was flown back to the UK after the crash and is receiving treatment at the spinal unit at Stockport's Stepping Hill Hospital. She is due to have another operation next week.
Her father Mike has previously said the injury rules out her Olympics dream, but the former heptathlete is already looking forward to getting back on the bike as she continues her rehabilitation process.
The Great Britain Cycling Team member said: 'I've literally got a queue of riders wanting to come in and visit me so that's nice to have the support of my team,
'The support really has been amazing for me and my family, everyone keeps saying that they don't know why I'm smiling so much. I think I'm the happiest patient ever!
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'I had two operations in Rotterdam and I'm scheduled to have one more on Monday which will involve putting some framework into my spine basically to sort the vertebrae out in my lumber spine.
'Everyone at British Cycling has been brilliant since the crash. The team doctor is in constant contact with the consultant here and he's helping me make decisions based on the best option for me as an athlete as I want to be able to continue to do the sport.
'If I wasn't an athlete, I probably wouldn't go ahead with the operation on Monday, I'd probably allow it to fuse again naturally, but having the pins put in will enable me to get back in the gym and lift weights again.'
She was injured in a sprint match against Ellis Ligtlee during the event in the Netherlands on Saturday, January 9.
She said: 'I was having a really good weekend out in Rotterdam until the accident happened, myself and Ellie Richardson were second in the team sprint by three-tenths of a second so that was a good result for us.
'We were having a really good time, and I've even got a picture of us before we went up to the start line which I took literally 30 seconds before we were called. To be honest, that's the last thing I can remember.
'Based on what other people have said, in the sprint final, I was in second position and was coming round the outside of Ligtlee on turn four and we ended up leaning on each other, then we collided and somehow got attached to each other and crashed into the fence at the top of the track.'
She will now spend the next eight weeks in hospital but said she is determined to return to the track and will be supported by Great Britain Cycling Team staff throughout her rehabilitation.
Williamson, who lives in Manchester, said: 'Ruth [Anderson, Great Britain Cycling Team psychologist] has been to see me as all I'll see for the next eight weeks is the four hospital walls, so I think that's going to be quite hard for me.
'Then Phil Burt [Great Britain Cycling Team physio] will come into play when I'm up and moving again. I can't weight bear on my right pelvis for eight weeks, but he'll be giving me exercises to help with that.
'My nutritionist is running through my diet at the moment to try and help me maintain as much muscle mass as possible. My coach Justin [Grace] has been great, he flew out to Rotterdam just hours after it happened to come and see me and Jan [van Eijden] and Shane [Sutton] were both messaging me from Hong Kong.'