In September last year, Albany road racer Craig Wiggins woke up in hospital with a fractured nose and eye socket and stitches all over his body.
He had survived an alleged hit-and-run while riding his bike on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
It’s a stark contrast to his win over the weekend at a cycling competition in Noosa on top of winning a stage at the famous Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia last month.
Back in competition
More than 30 riders lined up on Saturday in Noosa for the Australian Open Criterium men’s race, with Wiggins placing first.
The event has been previously won by Australian champion cyclist Robbie McEwen.
“To be up with those names is something pretty special,” Wiggins said.
He notched up the achievement after winning stage two of the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia last month.
“Coming first over that line is something you can’t get anywhere else,” Wiggins said.
The eight-stage event navigates around the country, including a climb of Genting Highlands, nearly 1,800 metres above sea level.
“It was mega,” he said.
“… It’s just one big hit, which we don’t have in Australia, which burnt the legs for sure.”
In September last year, Wiggins was knocked off his bike when he was struck by a vehicle, leaving him with serious injuries.
A man is facing multiple charges, including attempted murder, and will face court again in December.
Wiggins is back on his bike, but his recovery continues.
“I can’t sprint properly on my bike yet, so I have had to adapt,” he said.
“We had some pretty big demons there for a few months.
“In high-performance sport, everyone wants to be around you when you’re winning … but a lot of people flake on you when you’re on your deathbed.”
Wiggins said he was thankful for his supporters back in his hometown on WA’s south coast.
“I knew I could always count on them,” he said.
No place like home
Although Queensland’s climate is warmer than Albany’s, Wiggins said he looked forward to traversing the scenic landscape again.
“You could do a huge 200 [kilometre] ride and not see a single car,” he said.
“The backdrops around the Porongurups — that’ll probably be one of my first rides coming back.”