West Yorkshire triathlete 'left Britain' after being rugby-tackled from bicycle in road rage horror

A professional triathlete from West Yorkshire has said she has left Britain to train on "safer roads" after she was rugby-tackled off her bike by a road-rage driver.

Caroline Livesey was rugby tackled from her bike by a man who 'thought she was a bloke'
Caroline Livesey was rugby tackled from her bike by a man who 'thought she was a bloke'

Caroline Livesey was taken off her bike by Martyn Lee, 46, who later claimed he "thought she was a bloke".

The 38-year-old has said she doesn't see that as a defence and has move to train on European roads following the assault.

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Speaking about Lee's sentence, the step-mum of one said: "I don't really see 'you were a bloke' as a defence.

Caroline Livesey has moved to Spain

"If he had knocked a man off their bike it wouldn't be any better, he assaulted somebody - whether they were male or female doesn't matter.

"I've not got anything to say to him, I am just not that interested in his punishment.

"For me what was important was he pleaded guilty of the crime and was brought to court for it and punished."

Lee was given a six month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months after pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Caroline Livesey

He was also fined £5,000 in compensation to pay to Caroline over the next 14 months.

The professional triathlete was out of action for four months following the assault on May 11 last year.

Describing the attack and the moment she was knocked off her bicycle, Caroline, a former civil engineer designing infrastructure and foundations, said she felt "fear".

She said: "It was a very scary event - I've never been attacked for being a cyclist. I just felt fear.

Caroline Livesey has moved to Spain

"I have never been attacked like that before, my initial reaction was, 'what will he do next'?

"He was standing over me and I was very scared."

However, she is refusing to let the experience hamper her triathlete efforts.

She added: "I'm a very positive person and did not want that taken away from me.

Caroline Livesey

"I want to see how good I can be. I am very grateful for this and looking forward to showing my skills what I do."

Speaking about the new country she has travelled to ensure her safety on the roads, Caroline described the drivers on Majorca's roads in the Southern part of the island close to Cala d'Or as "very considerate".

She hopes to excel in the up-coming Triathlon season.

Caroline said: "One of the reasons we came out here is the roads are really safe and the drivers are very considerate and expect a lot of cyclists on the roads.

"There is definitely a selection of drivers in the UK who think it's ok to be aggressive and react in a road rage type situation to cyclists.

"Drivers do not know the physical impact they can have on cyclists by not just waiting their turn - so many times I've had drivers swearing and trying to scare me.

"If they get it wrong, for a cyclist it could be game over - it's really not ok.

"Motorists have to be patient, sometimes I will pull over because a driver behind me is getting closer and closer and they are getting frustrated.

"You just have to relax as a driver - you don't want to be 40 years too early rather than waiting two minutes."

Caroline's husband Mark Livesey, 45, a self-employed Triathlon programmer, will also join her out in Majorca.

Caroline said "by word of mouth" people around their small home town of Pately Bridge, West Yorks., had avoided Lee and his plumbing services.

She denied that "a hate campaign" had been forced - but put the resentment of the incident down to her to being from a small town.

She said: "We live in a very small town near Pately Bridge, myself and husband are well known in the local area.

"We know everyone in the village and word got out."

Caroline did race in Germany in September - four onths after the incident - and competed in the Italian Iron Man, which were both successful.

However, all her training and hard work came unstuck after two serious punctures on the bike during the Iron Man Argentina forced her to record a DNF [did not finish] last month.

She said: "In September when I went to Germany, I wasn't 100pc fit because I had only had eight weeks training.

"It wasn't that important the result, I just wanted to get back racing after being knocked down and racing as well as I could.

"One of the reasons I race is for the pure enjoyment and I did really well when I got back into it and I am pleased with my results with where I am at.

"I was building up for Argentina in December, but I got two catastrophic punctures so I couldn't finished - so that was a disappointing trip."

She says she plans to return to Yorkshire at some point because she "still loves Yorkshire roads".

Adding: "I have still got my house in Yorkshire and will return, but for now I am in Majorca training to see where this season will get me."