British man dies in mountain bike accident in French Alps

60-year-old falls to death after crashing hired bike

A British man has fallen 330ft (100m) to his death in a mountain biking accident in the French Alps.

The body of Richard Castle, 60, a university lecturer from Brighton, East Sussex, was found at 2pm on Friday in a wooded ravine in Chamonix-MontBlanc.

A French tourist had sounded the alarm after spotting Mr Castle's hire bike lodged in trees at the side of a steep trail known as The Balcony that runs between the resort town of Chamonix and the village of Argentiere.

A mountain rescue helicopter was sent to the area and the crew spotted Mr Castle's body 330ft below the popular Petit Balcon Nord track. It is understood he had hired the bike that morning and set out on a solo ride.

French police are awaiting the results of a post mortem carried out on Saturday. A spokesman said: “We do not know why the man fell. We are waiting for the results. It seems there are two possibilities. One is that he was taken ill and then fell, and the second is that he made a mistake with his bike and fell.

“The man hit several trees and fell a considerable distance – 100 metres. It is very steep in this section. He was on holiday with friends but he was the only one who went biking that day. There are no witnesses to his fall.”

Mr Castle was visiting the area on a two-week camping trip with nine friends from the Brighton Explorers' Club. Vice-chairman Craig Olive said members were shocked by his death. Neighbours told the Brighton Argus that Mr Castle was a "lovely man".

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