London 2012: Rachel Morris, Paralympian Cycling Champion, Hit By Car

Cycling champion Rachel Morris's hopes of defending her Paralympic title have taken a blow after she suffered whiplash and shoulder injuries when she was hit from behind by a car.

The 33-year-old is in a race against time to be on the start line for the time trial and road race at the London Paralympics in August.

She was six minutes into a time trial near her home town of Guildford, Surrey, last week when a car ran into the offside of her hand-cycle, British Cycling said today.

She managed to get as close to the kerb as possible as the off-side wheel of her bike was destroyed.

"This has totally screwed me up," she said. "I feel like everything I've worked for has been taken away.

"I can't imagine not being there, but I know how long it has taken me to recover from this type of injury before, and it was longer than I now have before the Games."

Morris has a condition called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) which involves a malfunction of the nervous system that causes extreme pain and related sensory abnormalities.

When she injures herself, her body reacts in an abnormal way and destroys itself which has resulted in her having to have her legs amputated.

Recalling being knocked off her bike, she said: "The bike went up into the air. I remember looking across and I was aware that I was at the same height as the passengers in a car passing in the outside lane."

The damage to Morris's shoulder has been looked at by Richard Freeman, the GB cycling team's doctor, at the squad's Manchester base.

Her bike is being replaced.

Morris initially took up hand-cycling as a way to keep fit after her operation.

She had once dreamed of competing at the Olympics and dealt with her new situation by channelling her energy into sport.

The intensity and speed needed to compete was an irresistible draw for her and she has been a cornerstone of the disability cycle squad since her 2006 competitive debut.

She was placed her on a full-time coaching programme with a brand new custom-made hand-cycle in 2007.

Morris had a phenomenal 2010 and became a double world champion in the road race and time trial. She won bronze in the 2011 road race.

Leigh Day, British Cycling's personal injury solicitors, are set to handle the case.

British Cycling suggested these incidents are often not adequately investigated.

British Cycling along with Cycling Weekly and other cycling organisations have recently called on the Ministry of Justice to undertake a comprehensive review of how the criminal justice system deals with this type of incident.

They are calling for everyone, especially the victim, to be treated fairly and urging that the right environment for people to drive responsibly is in place.