Stuart O’Grady will be released from a Spanish hospital Wednesday after his collapse in the wake of a ‘hot lap’ of the Valencia MotoGP circuit on Sunday.
Officials from the Australian cycling federation reported that O’Grady collapsed and suffered a seizure soon after the high-speed thrill ride and believes it was probably triggered by the stress on his body from the extreme experience. Doctors have given him the all clear after a series of medical tests including an MRI scan.
“When the ride finished of course I could feel my heart rate soaring, my blood pressure rising, but I didn’t give it much more thought,” he said. “But then I started having blotchy vision and 20 minutes later I had a seizure and collapsed.
“It was possibly the extreme ‘hyper tension’ or maybe an old scar on my brain from one of my previous crashes but there’s no use speculating or guessing, it’s happened and that’s that.”
Prior to the ride O’Grady underwent medical checks and was cleared to participate.
“The ride around the Valencia circuit was unbelievable,” said O’Grady, who rode pillion behind MotoGP legend Randy Mamola for the hot lap. “I’ve jumped out of planes, been in a Russian fighter jet, a V8 Supercar, the works – but the twin seater Ducati blows them all out of the water!
“I have never come close to the experience of hanging on for your life.
“The braking on those bikes had my feet coming off the rear pegs, and my butt way off the seat, the acceleration meant I needed my FULL strength to hang onto the machine and not get flicked out onto the track in front of 90,000 fans,” he explained. “It was something I will never forget and would do again tomorrow if my body could handle it.”
O’Grady has thanked Ducati for the opportunity and the medical team for looking after him and he’s made it clear he’s not looking for a career in MotoGP.
“I think I’ll stick to my ‘little pushie’ where we only hit 80 -100k an hour,” O’Grady said. “I’ll leave those MotoGP bikes to the legends that are riding them!”
But while his MotoGP career has been short he has been given a nickname courtesy of friend and fellow cyclist David Millar who was with him at Valencia.
“I’m now the ‘One Lap Wonder’,” laughed O’Grady. “I can live with that.”
Casey Stoner invited Stuart to attend the MotoGp in Valencia but he was not the pilot for O’Grady’s hot lap as has been reported by some outlets.
O’Grady is one of Australia’s most decorated sporting heroes. He won the 2007 Paris-Roubaix, has won two stages of the Tour de France and has gold medals from Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and World Championships in his trophy cabinet. He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) after his gold medal performance at the Athens Olympic Games.
But during his almost two decade career at the top level of professional cycling O’Grady has had more than his fair share of injuries.
In the past he has broken numerous bones, been treated for an abnormally high heartbeat and had surgery to repair a blocked artery. In 2007 a high speed crash during the Tour de France left him with five broken ribs, a broken shoulder and a punctured lung and earlier this year he was sidelined due to injuries sustained in a crash during Milan – San Remo.
So from O’Grady’s perspective this latest incident is nothing to be concerned about.
“It takes more than one lap to get rid of me,” said O’Grady.