Howard tipped to visit cyclists in German hospital

21st July 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 July 2005, SYDNEY - Australian Prime Minister John Howard is expected to this weekend visit members of the Australian women's cycling team that are recovering in Germany from injuries sustained when a motorist ploughed into them while they were on a training ride at Zeulenroda, 80 kilometres from Leipzig.

21 July 2005

SYDNEY - Australian Prime Minister John Howard is expected to this weekend visit members of the Australian women's cycling team that are recovering in Germany from injuries sustained when a motorist ploughed into them while they were on a training ride at Zeulenroda, 80 kilometres from Leipzig.

Amy Gillett, 29, was killed instantly in Monday's accident that put five of her teammates in Leipzig's Friedrich Schiller Hospital.

Howard is currently in London on an official visit to Britain to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair and other officials. Australia's ABC Radio reported that the prime minister was expected to fly to Germany to visit the five, two of whom are in a critical but stable condition.

Louise Yaxley, 23, and Alexis Rhodes, 20, are in intensive care and specialist Gernot Marx has warned that their condition could deteriorate.

"These two girls have very complex injuries." Marx told the ABC. "It is very difficult to predict how long they will stay in the unit. It still can develop into a life-threatening situation. That's the nature of intensive care."

The team had just arrived in Germany for the Tour of Thuringen stage race and were practising on the eve of the opening time trial when a car driven by an 18-year-old who had just got her driver's licence crossed onto the wrong side of the road and mowed them down.

Gillett won two gold medals in world junior rowing titles in 1993 and 1994 and was a member of the Australian women's eight which finished fifth in the Atlanta Games. She married double world champion rower Simon Gillett 18 months ago after having switched to cycling in 2000.

"I just want to bring her home. It's going to be the hardest thing I've ever done," Gillett said when leaving Australia for Germany to collect the body of his wife.

Hours after arriving in London, Howard and his wife Janette visited the two Australians who remain in hospital after the July 7 bombings that claimed at least 55 lives including one Australian, 28- year-old Sam Ly.

Howard, flew to Britain from the United States where he met U.S. President George W. Bush. He is scheduled to hold talks with Blair and have separate meetings with Chancellor Gordon Brown and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

The prime minister will spend the weekend privately, which is likely to mean watching some of the Ashes cricket series between England and Australia at Lords in London. It's at the weekend that the flying visit to Leipzig could be made.

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has sent two psychologists to the Friedrich Schiller Hospital to help with the recovery of the five injured. "There is no set system for these things but we anticipate 12 to 24 months of working with these kids," AIS head Peter Fricker said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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