Motorist accused of assaulting Ironman

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

A Taupo man, 49, was training in Broadlands Rd, north of Taupo, about 12.45pm yesterday 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 his vehicle and chased the cyclist on foot before pushing him off his bike and driving off.

A 21-year-old man was arrested yesterday afternoon in Reporoa and charged with common assault. He will appear in Taupo District Court tomorrow.

The cyclist, who was training for his eighth Ironman, was flown to Rotorua Hospital with pelvic injuries and a broken collarbone. He was this morning in a stable condition.

Taupo Mayor Rick Cooper was saddened to hear of the incident happening so close to an important event for the area.

"We have to share the roads. We don't have separate paths for cyclists and cars, so we've got to get along.

"If a cyclist has been assaulted, then I'm saddened by that.

"I fully understand that accidents can happen . . . It's totally unnecessary. It should be about being patient and caring for one another."

Taupo police wish to hear from anyone who saw the incident or was in the area.

Contact Kerry McBride
Porirua reporter
Twitter: @kerry_mcbride

The Dominion Post