Death of cyclist Mike Hall in Australia race crash 'a great loss'

A veteran British endurance cyclist who died during a race in Australia "leaves an incredible legacy" and will be "sorely missed", according to event organisers.

Mike Hall, 35, died after being struck by a car near the Australian capital, Canberra, during the Indian Pacific Wheel race, from Perth to Sydney, on Friday.

A statement issued by race organisers said: "The Indian Pacific Wheel Race joins the joins the family, loved ones and friends of Mike Hall in mourning his death. Mike was killed in an incident with a vehicle this morning.

"Our deepest sympathies go to Mike's family and to all those who knew him. Mike will be sorely missed."

The statement said Hall, originally from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, won the 2012 World Cycle Race, was twice winner of the Tour Divide and also won the TransAm Bicycle Ride in 2014.

It said: "Mike revelled in the spirit and adventure of ultra-endurance cycling events. Mike's efforts in both raising money and the spirit of others were tremendous and he leaves an incredible legacy.

"The tragedy is a great loss to the global cycling community."

The race team called off the event after the crash and said a tribute ride was being planned in Sydney on Sunday.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said: "We are supporting the family of a British man who sadly died near Canberra on 31 March."

The crash happened close to the border of New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory (ACT). 

Police from the ACT confirmed a male cyclist died at the scene following the collision on the Monaro Highway near Williamsdale. The cyclist was travelling north, just inside the ACT border.

Hall was in second place in the race when his global positioning satellite (GPS) tracker stopped moving near the scene of where the collision was reported at 6.30am local time on Friday.

The 3,400-mile (5,500km) race began with around 70 cyclists on March 18 in Fremantle, Western Australia, and was due to finish at the Sydney Opera House on Friday.

"I can suggest, given the nature of the collision, an investigation into the circumstances would suggest the rider of the push bike died at the scene," said ACT Police Sergeant Chris Meagher.

"(The driver) will be spoken to later by our crash investigation reconstruction team. It's early in the morning, it's dark; there was no fog at the time."

Ultra-triathlete Sean Conway said on Twitter: "Today is a very, very sad day. Cycling has lost a legend.

"Ride in Peace Mike Hall. We'll miss you so much."

An online funding site, set up to help Hall's family, quickly filled with tributes, with almost everyone who commented calling him an inspiration.

Organiser James Hayden said: "Mike will be remembered by us all for his kindness, good heart and bravery. Mike was a shining light in many of our lives, enabling us to find the best of ourselves."

One donor said: "Mike Hall inspired me to ride bikes and ride them far. A true loss to the endurance cycling community. Best wishes to his family and friends."

Hall's bike supplier, Kinesis UK, said on Instagram: "We received the news early this morning and since have been shocked and stunned by tragedy.

"Mike was more than a rider, he was a friend and inspiration to us."

It said: "This is not the time for more questions. Ride your bikes, hold your loved ones tight and remember to enjoy the gift of life. Mike was taken too soon, but doing something he loved."

Originally from Yorkshire, Hall had been living in Monmouthshire, South Wales.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said: "What a terrible tragedy.

"Cyclists who have crossed the continent as part of the Indian Pacific Wheel Race are due to arrive in Sydney tonight but it won't be in celebration - it will be in mourning.

"My thoughts are with this cyclist's family and friends and with the IPWR community."

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