A motorist who hit and fatally injured Irish road racer David McCall has been convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.
Michael Gerard Groome, 27, from Belfast, was on his way to the airport on August 12 2008 when he hit McCall while overtaking another vehicle in Belfast Road, County Antrim.
The Commonwealth Games medallist, who rode for the Maryland Wheelers in Lisburn, was taking part in an interclub race at the time.
He had just completed the first lap of the nine-mile course and was heading towards the Nutt’s Corner junction when he swerved to avoid a dog.
It was then that he was hit by Groome’s Peugeot 308, which prosecution lawyers said was speeding. The impact broke McCall’s bike in two and threw him into the air.
Antrim Crown Court heard that Groome did not stop, but returned to the scene shortly afterwards. He was found guilty yesterday and was released on bail, pending sentencing next month.
Mr McCall, 46, worked as a civil servant and also ran holiday company Sportactive with business partner Martin Birney. An accomplished European and international cyclist, he competed for Northern Ireland in the team trial during the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland, New Zealand.
Cycling Ulster chairman Tommy Lamb yesterday paid tribute to McCall, saying: “Davy was a legend in Irish cycling. He was a top international rider who represented both Northern Ireland and Ireland on the world stage. Not only was he a top sporting star but he was also a very down-to-earth person, easily approachable and willing to pass on his knowledge and skills to a new generation of racing cyclists.
“Many top athletes leave their sport when they retire but David was passionate about cycling and continued to race at a local level with his Lisburn-based Maryland Wheelers club. Not only that but he also qualified as a commissaire and gave freely of his time in helping to organise races throughout the country.
“I knew Davy for almost 30 years and he was a perfect gentleman and a role model for all aspiring athletes. He had time for everyone from the complete novice right through to our professional riders. “
The David McCall Cycling Foundation was set up to promote cycling in Ulster following his death.