The organisers of the Transcontinental Race have issued the following additional statement on their Facebook page. It reads:
‘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.
The TCRNo5 team have been working today to verify the information and to contact Frank’s appointed next of kin. Our next priority was to communicate with our riders, all of whom will be deeply affected by this shocking news.
It is important to us that we respect the wishes of Frank and his family. Frank was an Audax rider, and had applied to race in TCRNo4. 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 cannot comment on the particular incident as it is an active police investigation. We will assist that investigation by providing all the information we are able to. The TCRNo5 team want to be able to provide the systems we had in place for those riders wishing to continue. We will, however, be guided by our riders.
To all riders still out on the road: we are here for you, if you want to contact us with your decision to continue or not with your own ride this year, please email email@example.com’
The organisers of the Transcontinental Race have issued the following statement on their Facebook page. It reads:
‘Early this afternoon we received confirmation of a fatal traffic collision involving Frank Simons, rider 172. It is the saddest and most shocking news and our thoughts are immediately with Frank’s family, who we have been in contact with through their nominated next of kin’
The post goes on to provide riders out on the road with contact details should they wish to get in touch with the organisers, and states that a further statement will be made soon.
Given the circumstances of Mike’s death earlier this year, safety has no doubt been a major concern for the organisers this year, while also seeking to deliver the event that Mike had hoped for. The event sees riders racing from Belgium to Greece, via specified checkpoints, but along routes of their choosing.
Previous Facebook posts by the organisers have highlighted particularly dangerous sections of road, and in some instances there are routes which riders are not permitted to use, even though cycling there would be lawful. The Race Manual repeatedly references the inherent risks of the event and states ‘There has been a total of more than 1.3 million kilometres cycled in the first 4 Transcontinental races – it is a statistical possibility an accident may happen on the Transcontinental Race.’ Unfortunately, it seems that this has come to pass, less than 24 hours into the race.
Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Frank Simons, and we wish all the other competitors a safe passage to Greece.