Police have issued a witness appeal after a participant in yesterday's Vélo Birmingham & Midlands closed road sportive died after crashing at around 7.50am on Coleshill Road, Atherstone.
Warwickshire Police say that the cyclist, a man in his 50s, came off his bike at around the 23 mile mark during a steep downhill section with tight bends. He was taken to hospital for treatment but unfortunately passed away; his family have been informed.
We are appealing for witnesses to an incident in which a cyclist has sadly died following the #Vélo #Birmingham & #Midlands cycling event on Coleshill Road in #Atherstone this AM. Please click on the link for more info & call 101 if you saw anything. https://t.co/6073HsfqFC
— Warwickshire Police (@warkspolice) May 12, 2019
Sergeant Shaun Bridle from Warwickshire Police said: "While investigations are ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident, we are keen to speak to anyone who may have witnessed it.
"We are particularly trying to identify any cyclists who may have seen anything or who may have GoPro camera footage from around the time of the incident to please get in touch.
"Our thoughts remain with the victim's family at this difficult time."
Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information is asked to call Warwickshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 84 of 12 May.
2/3: We’ve been humbled by all the positive feedback we have received from you so far, but unfortunately it’s been a day of mixed emotions for us. We are saddened to report that a rider taking part in the event has passed away after being airlifted to hospital this morning.
— Vélo Birmingham & Midlands (@VeloBirmingham) May 12, 2019
Velo Birmingham acknowledged they are aware of the incident and released a statement on social media: "We are saddened to report that a rider taking part in the event has passed away after being airlifted to hospital this morning.
"We are currently working closely with Warwickshire Police and authorities to establish the exact circumstances surrounding this incredibly sad development. The rider’s family have been informed and all our thoughts are with them at this difficult time."
The death of the cyclist is one of a number of incidents at the event, which attracted 17,000 entrants, that have hit the headlines, with one involving a driver, since arrested which we reported last night, who ignored the instructions of marshals to stop and allegedly deliberately drove at one, leaving him with a suspected broken hip.
Event blamed for death of horse and foal; and post ride traffic
Meanwhile, the BBC is reporting that a mare and her newborn foal died after a vet was unable to reach them due to road closure. Owner Helen van Heyningen said her horse Penny went into labour at around 9.30am on Sunday and died an hour later, and the event security marshal refused the vet access to her farm. The full facts are yet to emerge and Velo Birmingham organisers haven't commented.
Members of the public and even riders attempting to drive home from the event reported that traffic was at a standstill in Birmingham for most of Sunday afternoon, and some participants were left stranded in car parks for hours after they finished the ride.
Absolute Chaos. Trying to get out of Grand Central/New St car parks. Hundreds of cars stranded. Great advert for Birmingham. #velobirmingham.
— Gary (@gqprfan) May 12, 2019
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He joined road.cc in 2017, having previously worked for 220 Triathlon magazine. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.