In 2000 the cycling world applauded Spain’s Javier Otxoa as he courageously held off Lance Armstrong to win Stage 10 of the Tour De France. Just seven months later, however, Javier and his twin brother Ricardo were hit by a car in Malaga. Ricardo was killed and Javier was severely injured, with a crushed left leg, five broken vertebrae and severe cranial trauma. He was in a coma for 64 days and finally, after a long hospital stay and an extensive programme of physiotherapy, he was able to get back on a bike almost two years later.
In his battle to return to competition, Otxoa trained three hours a day, covering 70 to 80km at a time. His father Ricardo followed him in a car with the emergency flashers on so the former professional felt safe riding on the open roads. In June 2003 he triumphantly rode in the Spanish Championship for mentally disabled riders and finished a remarkable second.
In October at the 2006 IPC Cycling World Championships in Switzerland, Otxoa celebrated his determined comeback with a victory double in the CP3 category men’s time trial and men’s road race, and silver medals in the men’s 1km time trial, the men’s individual pursuit and the men’s team sprint (LC1-4, CP3-4).