Quickstep rider Jérôme Pineau will continue his participation in the Tour despite the sudden death of his uncle, Patrick Guay, at the event.
Mr Guay, a French technician-driver for an ASO media subcontractor, was found lifeless yesterday morning near the finish of Stage 16 in Gap.
The 59-year old, who had been a professional rider in the late seventies, was discovered at around 6.00am, his body partially submerged in the river Luye close to his campervan which was parked near the finish line in the town.
Mr. Guay was said to be attending his 27th Tour and a press statement released by Quickstep after the finish of Stage 16 said: “He never missed the chance to greet Jeje [Jérôme] at the end of each stage with words of encouragement and a pat on the back.
“Today Jérôme honoured his loss, pedalling in spite of his pain and finishing the stage. Patrick has left a void in the world of two wheels. Our most heartfelt condolences go out to his family, to Jérôme Pineau’s family and to everyone who knew and loved Patrick.”
The local authorities attended the scene and have opened an inquest to determine the circumstances and cause of Mr Guay’s death. They have not released the body pending a possible post mortem examination.