November 02, 2015 (Montreal, Que.) – On Oct. 28, while cycling at nearly 80 km/h Hugo Barrette crashed at the Cali velodrome during a sprint workout practice ride as he prepared for the Track World Cup being held there Oct. 31-Nov. 1. His dramatic accident saw him break through the security guard rail as he went crashing into the stands. – read Pedal‘s report here.
Less than a week after the incident, a calm Barrette is in good spirits as he takes stock of what lies ahead in the coming weeks. His body may be bruised but his mind is ready to restart the machine following a mishap that could have easily been fatal.
“I don’t know how it happened. I was extremely lucky as this could have been the end. I remember a few things, but after being anesthetized for surgery, I do not really remember much. But that might not be a bad thing,” said Barrette.
“Yes, it affects me a lot that it happened during the Olympic qualification process, but I am alive and have nothing broken, which is almost a miracle. Nobody understands how this is possible. I’m going to use that to come back stronger than ever,” he exclaimed.
In the accident, Barrette suffered a concussion which will limit his training over the coming weeks. “I could be back at full throttle in 1-4 weeks. Aside from a few bruises and a small laceration to my spine, I can walk. It remains to be seen how fast my brain can recover,” he continued.
A Wave of Love and Support
To cheer him up through these difficult times, his teammates on the national team quickly put together a video where Canadian and international track riders, including former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, sing the song “Don’t Stop Believin’” (composed by the group Journey) for Barrette.
“I had a lot of people send loving messages from everywhere and that really helped! Connecting with people is something important to me. I’ve competed in other sports but the world of track is different. It’s a big family and we all know how hard it can be. Feeling everyone who supports you during adversity is just as nice as (a medal). People believe in me,” shared Barrette.
While Barrette sees his unfortunate situation in a positive light, it will nonetheless be an additional obstacle to a possible Olympic qualification. “Moments like this remind me of the goodness of people; that is what I will retain the most at the end of my career. Yes, it is important to win, but most important is what’s around you. I live for the moment and the enjoyment from life,” he continued.
Barrette will return to Canada on Nov. 5 and still hopes to compete at the next Track World Cup in Cambridge, New Zealand being held from December 4-6.
“It’s not a choice. If I want to be at the World Championships, I must be in New Zealand (to pick up points). I see it in a positive light; I know I am capable of a podium at the Worlds,” he concluded.
Translated from Sportcom interview (French) here.