Wayne in fitness race for Tour de France

PUBLISHED: 18:43 06 July 2007 | UPDATED: 11:15 24 May 2010

NORTH Somerset trike expert Wayne Baker is involved is a desperate race to get fit for a chance of a lifetime" appearance in the

NORTH Somerset trike expert Wayne Baker is involved is a desperate race to get fit for a "chance of a lifetime" appearance in the Tour de France activities in London this weekend.The 50-year-old twice world tricycle championship silver medallist is recovering from a frightening 40mph crash in the world championships in France just over two weeks ago.The speedster from North Worle went to the championship hopeful of a top three place after a convincing victory in the Belgian trike time trial championships two weeks earlier when he pegged back home rider Michael Vanhaelen, fourth in last year's world championships, into second place.But disaster struck for Baker, who rides for Midlands-based Stourbridge Cycling Club, after just three miles in the world championship race in south west France. He lost control on a tight right hand turn and was thrown from his machine."I suffered cuts to both arms and knees as well as a deep cut to my right shin. The paramedic with the race refused to allow me to continue racing and called for an ambulance. I had two stitches in the deep cut in my right shin and the doctor also asked for the area to be X-rayed but luckily nothing was broken."His £2,000 purpose-built racing trike escaped with minor damage but Baker was forced to rest for two weeks.Now he is facing a battle to get fit for his "race of a lifetime" in London at the weekend when the Tour de France leaves the capital en-route to France.After the first stage on Sunday a series of circuit races are planned, based in Hyde Park. One of the events is an international trike race featuring a 45-strong field.Riders from the home nations will clash with overseas competitors from America, Canada, Belgium, France and Australia in a showpiece event for tricycle racing.Baker said: "It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of the Tour de France, one of the biggest sporting events in the world, and race in front of potential crowd of thousands. It will be a real showcase for the sport."The race will follow clockwise circuits of Hyde Park with riders covering a distance of 10 miles in the race which is scheduled to start at 3pm.Baker said: "I have had the stitches removed from the leg wound and the cuts and bruises elsewhere are improving, although I am still having problems with a sprained left wrist. "I have started light training and managed to finish two 10-mile time trials. I am hopeful I will be able to compete in London but I think the enforced layoff will hinder my chances of a top-10 placing."With Bristol's Dave Keene, who was crowned world champion two weeks ago, and runner-up Barry Charlton of Staffordshire, not competing, it leaves Sunday's race wide open. Top English challengers are circuit expert Sid Charlton of London, who was runner-up in last year's world championship and prolific distant record holder and winner of several national titles Ralph Dadswell from Herfordshire.France's Antoine Bavay, third in the world championship two weeks ago, and Belgium's Michael Vanhaelen lead the overseas challenge.

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