Cyclists carry 'bullseye on their butt'

By Alison King

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Triathletes riding on the Ironman New Zealand bike course are sitting targets, said the man knocked off his bike by a driver on Monday.

Alasdair Slade, 49, is in Rotorua Hospital with serious pelvic injuries and a broken collarbone after the incident on Broadlands Rd.

A 21-year-old man is due before Taupo District Court on assault charges today.

Mr Slade is a prison officer at Rangipo Prison and an eight-time finisher of Ironman New Zealand. He is also a Triathlon NZ technical official.

"Every cyclist has a bullseye on their butt," he told The Daily Post from hospital yesterday.

"It's pretty gutting but I am accepting of the situation. There is a reason under heaven for all that happens to us."

He was expecting to be transferred to Waikato Hospital today.

Warwick Hall, a friend and cycling partner of Mr Slade's, said of all the cyclists he knows, his friend was the safest.

"I've known Alasdair for a long time. He is so safe; he never does anything he shouldn't and he always rides hard left.

"We've all had close calls - I got cut off on Sunday. It's a sad realisation when you set out on your bike knowing you're rolling the dice.

"You either get into an altercation or you get hit. Every time we always have a coffee after the ride and we talk about how many close shaves we've had.

"We've got six inches on the left of you, you're doing 40km/h, I don't think the motorist is going to throw themselves into a ditch so why should we?"

Ironman New Zealand has been held in Taupo for 15 years, this Saturday is the 29th year Ironman has been held in New Zealand.

The bike course is 180km and involves two laps from Taupo to Reporoa and back along Broadlands Rd.

The road is closed to non-essential traffic on race day but in the lead up to the race is used by triathletes preparing for the race.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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