UK time trialling has suffered its first fatality of 2009 after Army Cycling Union rider Gareth Rhys-Evans died following a collision with a car during the Icknield Road Club 25-mile event at Tempsford, Bedfordshire, on Sunday.
Evans, 38, a major in the Army, died at the scene despite fellow competitors and paramedics administering first aid. He leaves a wife and two young children.
The incident, on the southbound carriageway of the A1 near Eaton Ford, happened at 8.35am mid-way through the event, which was quickly abandoned when reports of the incident reached headquarters.
Evans was a regular contributor to the many online time trialling forums, where dozens of tributes have been posted.
Among them was one from RAF CA rider Jon Surtees, who wrote: “A total tragedy. I felt physically sick today. Having finished with what turned out to be second fastest time, it is all just meaningless. I expect that the organisers will void the whole race out of respect and I totally understand that, but if not then I would like to donate any prize money I might have won to the rider’s family.
“I am devastated at the moment and struggling. Seeing Druid’s helmet in the road as me and [team-mate] Gary Beezer drove past on our way home was sickening to the pit of my stomach. My sincere condolences to the riders family at this tragic time. Rest in Peace Sir.”
Science in Sport rider Claire Lee, who was first on the scene after starting two minutes after Evans, said: “I am totally numb at this moment in time and I can think of nothing at all other than Gareth and his young family and friends. RIP Gareth.”