A VAN driver has been given a six-month suspended prison sentence for pulling a professional triathlete off her bike in a road rage incident.

Caroline Livesey suffered a broken pelvis in the incident near Pateley Bridge, Nidderdale, on May 11, said Martin Robertshaw, prosecuting. She was out of action for four months.

“It was effectively a road rage incident,” he said.

Immediately after injuring her, Martyn Stuart Lee, 46, told her: “To be honest, I thought you were a bloke.” He also said “I have been a bit stupid”.

Lee, 46, of Lofthouse near Harrogate, pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm and was given a six-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months on condition he does 160 hours unpaid work. He must also pay Ms Livesey £5,000 compensation.

At a previous hearing, York Crown Court heard that Lee had been under stress at the time.

Mr Robertshaw said Lee told police he accepted that he shouldn’t have done what he did and apologised. He had had a backlog of jobs in his plumbing business and had felt under pressure at the time.

Recorder Nicholas Barker said Ms Livesey could take civil action against Lee for more compensation. She claimed she had lost at least £9,000 in earnings, sponsorship and prize money through her injury.

Mr Robertshaw said Ms Livesey was riding at 30 kph along Low Wath Road from Gouthwaite Reservoir towards Pateley Bridge.

Lee overtook her “sounding his horn at her and appeared to be acting in an aggressive manner,” he said.

A dog ran out into the road and Lee braked suddenly to avoid it. Ms Livesey then had to take action to avoid riding into the back of his van and undertook him.

Recorder Nicholas Barker told Lee: “This was an inevitable action by her as a result of the situation which developed and which was unforeseen by both you and her.”

Mr Robertshaw said Lee revved his engine, shouted at the cyclist and at the next bend, he stopped his van, got out and grabbed her left shoulder as she was riding past him. She fell to the ground and broke a pelvic bone.

The judge said Ms Livesey had made a “sensible” decision in continuing to ride and not stopping by Lee.

He accepted that Lee had acted in a moment of “uncharacteristic anger”.

Mr Robertshaw said Lee had stayed at the scene until police and an ambulance arrived.