Police: Ironman athlete pushed from bike

KERRY MCBRIDE
Last updated 01:00 26/02/2013

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A man has been charged with assault after allegedly pushing an Ironman athlete off his bike in Taupo, police say.

Around 12.45pm yesterday, a 49-year-old Taupo man was training on Broadlands Rd, north of Taupo, for this weekend's Taupo Ironman race.

A silver Toyota ute coming from the opposite direction overtook a vehicle, coming close to the cyclist who made a hand gesture at the ute driver in response, police said.

The ute driver allegedly pulled over ahead of the cyclist, then got out of the car and chased him on foot before pushing the cyclist off his bike before leaving in his ute.

A 21-year-old man was arrested later in Reporoa and charged with common assault. He will appear at Taupo District Court on Wednesday.

The cyclist, who was training for his eighth Ironman, was flown to Rotorua Hospital with serious pelvic injuries and a broken collar bone.

Ironman New Zealand organisers said they were deeply concerned by the incident.

“We would like to implore all cyclists and drivers to take extra care on the roads, and especially in the lead-up to Saturday’s Ironman New Zealand,”  said Asia Pacific chief marketing officer Jane Patterson.

Police wish to hear from anyone who saw the incident or were in the area. They are also looking for the driver of the car who was overtaken by the silver Toyota Hilux before the incident.

Anyone with information can call Taupo police on 07 378 6060.

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