Frank Simons, a Dutch cyclist taking part in the Transcontinental Race, has been killed in an incident involving a hit-and-run driver in Belgium. The fatal crash happened at around 3am on Saturday morning at Vergnies near Froidchapelle, close to the French border. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to his tracker, Simons had covered 82.2 kilometres from the start in Geraardsbergen when the incident took place.
The news was announced in a Facebook post by race organisers.
There is a relatively small amount of information being released about the tragic incident, as a police investigation is ongoing.
According to Radio Télévision Belge Francophone, around 3 am GMT emergency services were called to the scene of a collision. Upon arrival, Simons was pronounced dead. Local police are trying to determine the causes of the collision.
A team of Mike Hall’s close colleagues and friends came together to ensure that Transcontinental Race No 5 happened after its founder was killed in March while competing in the Indian-Pacific Wheel Race.
That race was cancelled after Hall's death, and on Saturday there was speculation that similar action would be taken by the organsiser's of the Transcontinental Race.
However, in an update on Saturday evening on Facebook, they confirmed that the event would continue, in line with what his wife said would have been his wishes.
The organisers said: “It is important to us that we respect the wishes of Frank and his family. Frank was an Audax rider, and had applied to race in TCRNo4.
"We understand from Frank’s wife that he would have wanted the race to continue and that everyone racing be able to continue their adventure on the TCRNo5,” said the Transcontinental race team.
“In honour and respect of what we understand to be Frank’s wishes, we currently feel it is appropriate that the TCRNo5 organisation continue to provide the race infrastructure as before, allowing the riders discretion in deciding their own course of action.”