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Texan will join others to cycle route that victims of Kalamazoo tragedy never completed

Lance Armstrong will take part in a memorial bike ride in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Tuesday in memory of the five cyclists killed when the driver of a pick-up truck ploughed into a group ride in Kalamazoo last week.

> Driver who ploughed into Michigan cyclists charged with 5 counts of murder (+ video)

The cyclists taking part in next Tuesday evening’s ride will ride the same route as the victims of the tragedy a week earlier set out on but never completed, reports WWMT.

Armstrong, who in 2012 was banned from competitive sport for life and later confessed to cheating his way to seven Tour de France victories, will join the 28.5 mile ride which starts at 6.30pm at the parking lot of the Kalamazoo County Health Services.

On Wednesday, in a post on Instagram, Armstrong expressed his shock at hearing the news of what had happened in Kalamazoo, writing: “Went for a run this morning. Couldn't shake my feeling of incredible sadness thinking about yesterday's unimaginable tragedy in Kalamazoo. To the ones lost - may you rest in peace."

One local pastor, Rob Link, welcomed Armstrong’s presence, saying: "I think it is really cool that he that he's kind of reaching into two things: his experience and his influence as a world-renowned biker. To come and bring whatever he can by way of peace and joy."

Another pastor at the same church, Dori Beltz, added: "Kalamazoo deserves it. We've been through a lot and to have someone like Lance consider coming in is miraculous, in my mind."

The five victims were last week named as Debra Ann Bradley, aged 53, Melissa Ann Fevig-Hughes, 42, Fred Anton "Tony" Nelson, 73, Lorenz John "Larry" Paulik, 74, and Suzanne Joan Sippel, 56.

The driver of the pick-up truck, Charles Pickett Jr, aged 50, was arrested as he tried to flee the scene on foot and has been charged with five counts of second degree murder.

Under Michigan state law, that is defined as an unplanned, intentional killing, or a death caused by a reckless disregard for human life. It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Unlike first-degree murder, the prosecution does not have to prove premeditation on the defendant’s part.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.