'Concertina' cycle crash puts nine in hospital

A large group cycling in Canterbury has crashed like a "concertina", ending in nine people being taken to hospital.

Two of them were picked up from Leeston, near Christchurch, by helicopter, one with serious injuries and the other moderately hurt.

It's believed there were around 40 cyclists in the pack when it crashed around 7pm. 

The cyclists were racing at the time in a weekly event with traffic management in place.

"It was a large bunch of riders and it seems as though one of the forward ones, something's happened and [they've] gone down," club president Albert Anderson told Fairfax.

"Once that happens it's a concertina effect."

No other vehicles were involved.