Ultra-endurance cycling has been struck by another tragedy after a rider was killed while competing in the Transcontinental Race from Belgium to Greece.
Frank Simons was hit by a vehicle at 3am on Saturday near Four à Verre in Belgium, just 82km after leaving the start in Geraardsbergen, with local press reporting that the driver did not stop at the scene and is now being sought by police.
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Simons is the third rider to die while competing in an ultra-endurance race in the last few months, after Eric Fishbein was killed during the Trans Am race in June, and Mike Hall, one of the founders of the Transcontinental Race, died during the Indian Pacific Wheel Race in March.
The fifth edition of the Transcontinental Race, which sees riders race between Geraardsbergen in Belgium and Meteora in Greece using any route between four checkpoints along the way.
In a statement, the race organisers said they were shocked by Simons’s death, but that the event would continue as planned.
“Frank Simons’ death in the early hours of this race is a tragedy that has affected the cycling community deeply, and will continue to affect everyone close to the Transcontinental for a long time to come,” a statement read
“Frank was an Audax rider, and had applied to race in TCRNo4 as well as this edition. 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.
“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. We will, however, be guided by our riders.”