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The organisers of the Thueringen Rundfahrt race have presented a cheque for 25,000 euros (£17,000) to the Amy Gillett Foundation at the official launch of the 2006 event last night in Zeulenroda.
The foundation was established in the wake of the tragic accident in July this year when a car crashed into the Australian women's cycling team, who were training the day before the start of the Thueringen event. Champion cyclist and rower Amy Gillett was killed in the crash and her five team-mates were seriously injured.
Retired Australian cyclist Margaret Hemsley, a three-time competitor in the Thueringen event, attended the launch to accept the cheque which was presented by Mr Uwe Jahn, vice-president of the Thueringer Cycling Association. Hemsley and her husband, Greg Boorer, live in Germany and both travelled to Zeulenroda to support the team in the wake of the accident. Hemsley also has a role as a team physiotherapist and Boorer is a mechanic with the national team.
Race organisers also confirmed the establishment of the Amy Gillett Memorial Prize to be awarded to the cyclist who best represents the values of fair play and teamwork during the Thueringen Rundfahrt. In 2006, this trophy will be presented for the first time by Amy's parents, Denis and Mary Safe.
"The 25,000 euros includes the prize money of this year's event which the riders and sponsors generously donated," said Hemsley after the presentation. "It also includes public donations, a portion of the profits of the Bad Homburg criterium (one of the post Tour de France criteriums featuring the pro men riders) and money raised by the local football club.
"Thueringen Rundfahrt tour manager Christian Bergemann also made a personal contribution of 1,200 euros," said Hemsley, who spoke at the presentation about the aims of the foundation and provided an update on the condition of the injured riders.
"We will never forget the kindness and care we received from people in the Thueringer region," said Hemsley. "From the first aid of the rescue workers and policemen, and the excellent treatment by doctors and hospital staff to the support and best wishes that flooded in from the German people. It was overwhelming and on behalf of the Australian team and their families I thank you again."
The 2006 Thueringen Rundfahrt will take place on July 18-23. More information on the race is available on the race website www.thueringenrundfahrt.com
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