News for November 26, 2001

Recent results and new features

Tragedy in Sydney criterium

By Gerard Knapp

A promising young Australian triathlete, Michael Atkins, has died as a result of injuries sustained in a racing accident on Friday, November 23, during a criterium held at the Waratah Park circuit, south of Sydney, Australia.

The death has shocked the Australian racing community, as most cannot recall the last tragedy resulting purely from racing on a circuit which did not involve any other vehicles. The 21-year old rider was racing in the B grade event, as part of the regular Friday evening races organised by the Sutherland Cycling Club on a dedicated criterium circuit south of Sydney.

Atkins was competing under a 'three-race trial licence' provided by the NSW Cycling Federation to allow athletes to enter races and experience racing before committing to a full licence. The accident occurred at the bottom of the circuit's descent, where riders can reach speeds over 70kmh before negotiating a tight left-hand bend which swoops uphill.

Apparently Michael was at the front of the group when he lost control of his bike and crashed. Reports to Cyclingnews indicate he struck a tree, but a spokesman for the NSW federation would not confirm this detail. Personnel from the St John's Ambulance were in attendance at the race and rushed to the crash scene. A helicopter airlift was called in and the rider was flown to St George Hospital, but died shortly after from internal injuries.

The young rider was an emerging Australian triathlete, training in an area of Sydney which has produced several world champions. Atkins had recently finished sixth in the Forster-Tuncurry Half Ironman - ahead of 25 professional athletes - and was training with a group which included world triathlon champion Peter Robertson. His coach, Mark Newton, told a Sydney newspaper that the rider "had the potential to be an Australian champion". It was his first race at the Friday criteriums at Waratah Park, which were often used for training by leading triathletes such as Greg Welch and Emma Carney.

The race commissaire has presented his report to the NSW Cycling Federation, and a spokesman for the federation expects a Coroner's inquest will result from the tragedy.

(The team at Cyclingnews - several of whom have raced on this circuit, an area where this writer learnt to ride his bike - extend their deepest sympathies to his family, friends and riders of the Sutherland club.)

Recent results and new features on Cyclingnews

Major Races and Events
   September 7-29, 2002: Vuelta a España (GT) - Preview, stage list
   May 11-June 2, 2002: Giro d'Italia (GT) - Preview, stage list, photos
   July 6-28, 2002: Tour de France (GT) - Full preview & official route details
   December 8: Superprestige Rd 5 (Cat. 1) - Erwin Vervecken
   November 29-December 4: Six Days of Noumea (6D) - Sassone/Neuville victorious
   November 26-December 1: Six Days of Zurich (6D) - Day 6 - McGrory/Gilmore/Schnider win
   December 1: Melbourne Cup on Wheels (IM) - Scott Moller, Keirin, Sprint, Support races
   December 2: Cyclo-cross World Cup #2 (CDM) - Sven Nijs again
   November 24-December 3: Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos (JR) - Final results
   December 8-9: Frankfurter Rad-Cross (Cat. 2) - Alex Mudroch, UK National Trophy Series #4 (Cat. 3) - Roger Hammond, Grote Prijs Industrie Bosduin - Kalmthout (Cat. 1) - Bart Wellens, Int. Radquer Obergösgen (Cat. 2) - Björn Rondelez, Trofeo Mamma e Papa Guerciotti (Cat. 3) - Enrico Franzoi, Premio Egondo (Cat 3) - David Seco, Irish cyclo-cross championships - Robin Seymour

Results: local racing
   Australia - CycleWest Promotions Omnium Series #2, Eastern Suburbs Summer Criterium Series, Carnegie Caulfield Tuesday criterium, Southern Cross Junior Track Open & Madison Cup, Manly Warringah CC, George Town Track Carnival, Carnegie Caulfield CC, Randwick Botany CC, Gold Coast CATS CC, Caesar's Illawarra CC, Caesar's Illawarra (track)
   Denmark - Danish cyclo-cross Post Cup #3   
   Italy - Gran Premio Città di Bassano
   Luxembourg - GP De Kopstal
   New Zealand - Cyco Criterium series
   Spain - Elorrio cyclo-cross
   USA - Georgia Cross Series Championship, Chimborazo Grand Prix cyclo-cross, Boulder Cross Rd 6, New Mexico State Cyclo-x Champs, Sorrento Cyclo-x & California State Champ's, Boulder Cross Rd 5, Verge New England series, Northampton CC Cyclo-cross Championships, Chris Cross International CycloCross

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