Cyclist Junior Heffernan dies after hitting car during race
'The Heff' was leading the Severn Bridge Road Race when he collided with a vehicle
JUNIOR HEFFERNAN, the talented 23-year-old British cyclist known as 'The Heff', has died after colliding with a car during an annual road race in Gloucestershire.
Heffernan was competing in the 41st Severn Bridge Road Race near Olveston yesterday when he collided with a vehicle on the third lap of the ten-lap event. The young rider, who was making his debut as a member of the Herbalife-Leisure Lakes team, died from his injuries and the race was immediately abandoned.
Brian Cookson, president of British Cycling, said Heffernan's death was a "tragedy which will profoundly sadden everyone associated with cycling in this country. My thoughts are with Junior's family and with his friends."
Heffernan had expressed his excitement at making his debut with the Herbalife team on his blog, Ride With The Heff. He wrote: "This will be my first race alongside members of my new team, Team Herbalife-Leisurelakesbikes.com, proper racing! Plus my new kit arrived this week from Santini.
"I'll leave you with a sneak preview of my new kit, and follow up with some (hopefully) good news after the weekend!"
The Severn Bridge Road Race takes place on a 6.6 mile circuit, and is described on its website as one of the country's "leading and longest-running early-season road race events, dating back to the 1960s". The race is "not a closed road event", reports the cycling website road.cc, which understands the "car involved may have been either stationary or parked".
It is believed that Heffernan was at the front of the race when the accident occurred.
Heffernan's death has highlighted the dangers faced by elite athletes competing and training on public roads. In January, the South African mountain biker Burry Stander died after a collision with a taxi. Late last year two of the UK's best-known cyclists, Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, were both hurt in separate incidents involving vehicles. ·