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Rising cycling star critically injured in training crash

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Ellen Watters, a 28-year-old Canadian cyclist, was critically injured in a collision with a motor vehicle last week, according to a statement released by Cycling Canada.

Ellen Watters, originally from Apohaqui, was struck by a car Dec. 23 during a bike ride while home for the holidays.  RCMP Sgt. André Pepin said conditions were sunny and clear when the collision occurred around 2:30 p.m.

Pepin said Watters and the Volkswagen Golf were travelling in the same direction on Riverview Drive East in Lower Cove. Watters was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Ellen Watters has been steadily rising up the ranks since joining the Ottawa-based The Cyclery Racing program in 2014 under the guidance of former national team member Jenny Trew. A former triathlete and a kinesiology graduate, Watters adapted quickly to road cycling and her sunny personality and aggressive racing style has become a fixture at events throughout Canada and the U.S.

The 2016 season was a breakout year for the 28-year-old. She won the Tour of the Battenkill and Tour of Somerville in the U.S., and won bronze in the criterium at the Canadian Road Championships. These results, among others, led to an invitation to take part in her first-ever Canadian National Team project in August. Despite missing some races early in the trip after suffering a minor concussion, she bounced back to victory in a kermesse in Hasdonk, Belgium, on Aug. 18.

Watters’ cycling career has stepped up another level on the cusp of 2017. She signed for the U.S.-based Colavita-Bianchi team at the same time as being invited to be a part-time member of the Canadian women’s development program under national NextGen coach Cameron Jennings.

Watters’ family has shared the following statement on social media:

“I want to thank everyone for the stupendous outpouring of support which have been sent to Ellen Watters, and to our family. The love, strength and joy which Ellen has always shared around her have come rushing right back to her. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the support which her family has recieved from dear friends, and from all of the cycling community.

At this time, Ellen is still stable and receiving respiratory support. However, given her injuries and the results of scans and observation over the past few days, we do not anticipate a recovery. This news is truly heartbreaking for me to have to share. Ellen’s incredible strength and tenacity make this all the more difficult to take in.

Please keep Ellen’s vibrancy shining through your memories of her, the joy you share with the world, and every great big laugh you just can’t keep to yourself.

Until we have more news to share, we’d appreciate some space while we try to cope with this news.”