A cyclist was killed in a crash during a British road race on Sunday in what friend described as an “awful tragedy.”
The cyclist, Junior Heffernan, 23, was competing in the Severn Bridge Road Race. He was involved in the collision on the third lap of the 66-mile event.
While officials have not released details of the accident that killed Heffernan, witnesses recalled that “The Heff” was trying to pass the peloton (pack of riders) when the accident happened, reports United Press International.
Heffernan collided with a vehicle at high speed and died from his injuries. The race was the first time the British cyclist was riding with his new team, Team Herbalife-Leisure Lakes. The race was called off in light of the accident.
British Cycling president Brian Cookson offered his condolences to Heffernan’s family after he died. Cookson stated:
“This is a tragedy which will profoundly sadden everyone associated with cycling in this country. My thoughts are with Junior’s family and with his friends.”
People from the world of cycling paid tribute to the rising star, including the British Road Club, as well as Triathlete Vanessa Raw, notes The Mirror. Former Olympian Brian Smith took to Twitter to express his condolences, saying:
“saddened to hear the news about Junior Heffernan….my condolences go to his family and friends…..RIP”
The Severn Bridge Road Race includes 10 laps of a 6.6 mile circuit. It is one of the country’s leading and longest-running early-season road races. The cyclist killed in the crash wrote on his blog, “Ride With The Heff,” about the race on Friday. He seemed excited about the race, saying:
“This will be my first race alongside members of my new team … proper racing! Plus my new kit arrived this week from Santini. I’ll leave you with a sneak preview of my new kit, and follow up with some (hopefully) good news after the weekend!”
It is not yet known how long it will take before the official details are released about the British cyclist killed in a crash on Sunday.