Racing was suspended on the opening day of the 2017 African Continental Track Championships in Durban, South Africa, after an Egyptian rider died of a heart attack while taking part in a race.
Eslam Nasser Zaki, aged 22, was taking part in the tempo race round of the elite men’s omnium at the Cyril Geoghegan Cycle Stadium in Durban earlier today.
Cycling South Africa, which is hosting the event, said that Zaki “was riding on his own when he suddenly fell off his bicycle and after prolonged attempts to resuscitate him, he was declared dead.”
It added: “Cycling South Africa expresses its deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to the family and teammates of Eslam Nasser Zaki.
“Every effort is being made to assist the Egyptian Cycling Team during this very tragic period.”
Egyptian Cycling Federation president Wagih Azzam confirmed that Zaki had died of a heart attack but rejected suggestions in the country's media that he had suffered from a prior condition.
"Nasser felt some pain a while ago and endured a full check up in several hospitals and medical centres; all the reports confirmed that he is fully fit to play cycling as his heart, brain and nerves were in perfect shape," he said.
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.