Top pro hit by car, out of race

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - SPORTS -

KAILUA-KONA – There was a no­tice­able ab­sence at the Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship pro­fes­sional ath­lete press con­fer­ence on Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

Vet­eran pro and podium fa­vorite Tim Don was un­able to make it to the event, which brings to­gether the race’s top con­tenders, af­ter be­ing hit by a car dur­ing a train­ing bike ride on Wed­nes­day morn­ing on Queen Kaahu­manu High­way.

Po­lice said that the ac­ci­dent hap­pened at 11:35 a.m. near the Queen K 76 sta­tion, with Don rid­ing north­bound on Queen Kaahu­manu High­way. A pick-up truck was trav­el­ing south­bound, ne­go­ti­at­ing a left turn onto Honoko­hau Street, when Don broad­sided the ve­hi­cle. Po­lice couldn’t say im­me­di­ately if a ci­ta­tion was is­sued as a re­port wasn’t avail­able Thurs­day af­ter­noon.

The ac­ci­dent sent Don to the hospi­tal and the di­ag­no­sis was a frac­tured ver­te­brae. It also meant he would be side­lined five to six weeks and miss the Kona world cham­pi­onship race.

Don an­nounced that he would be miss­ing the event via a light-hearted so­cial me­dia post.

“Just get­ting in the fin­ish­ing touches for my Kona race on Satur­day, go­ing for a new aero look. I’ve heard that’s the way to beat Jan (Fro­deno), Sebi (Kienle), and Pa­trick (Lange), the podium guys from last year,” Don said from his bed in the Kona Hospi­tal’s emer­gency room wear­ing a neck brace. “The good news is I don’t have to have an op­er­a­tion and fly to Honolulu in a he­li­copter — that would have been pretty cool — but that’s re­ally the good news. The bad news is I’m out for the best part of five to six weeks in a brace,

but you can count I’ll be back. I wish ev­ery­one the best of luck.”

Don, a 39-year-old triath­lete who races out of Lon­don, made him­self an ath­lete to watch in Kona af­ter smash­ing the Iron­man world record at May’s Iron­man South Amer­i­can Cham­pi­onship in Brazil, clock­ing a time of 7 hours, 40 min­utes and 23 sec­onds. It broke the pre­vi­ous record of 7:44:29.

Don fin­ished in 15th dur­ing his Iron­man World Cham­pi­onship de­but in 2015, but did not fin­ish last year’s race.

It’s not the first ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing a no­table pro­fes­sional triath­lete. Aus­trail­ian fe­male pro Mirinda Car­frae — a three time cham­pion in Kona — was hit by a ve­hi­cle in 2015, three days be­fore the race.

She started the event but even­tu­ally pulled out with leg and back sore­ness.

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