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Ironman collision: Motorbike rider killed, cycling triathlete seriously injured

Local police in Hamburg confirmed the 70-year-old motorbike rider died at the scene, the triathlete and a photographer were taken to hospital for treatment

A motorbike rider has died after being involved in a collision with a triathlete during the cycling leg of the Hamburg Ironman event this morning.

The race continued despite the fatality and two people taken to hospital, prompting criticism from some. News of the death was announced by police in the event's host city of Hamburg, a head-on collision seeing a race-support motorbike rider and their photographer passenger collide with a triathlete cycling in the opposite direction.

Footage of the collision showed athletes cycling in both directions, on their respective sides of the road separated by a line of event motorbikes. One motorbike is away from the rest, riding closer to the far side of the road and towards oncoming riders when a collision occurs out of shot, the triathlete and bike sent flying across the road and into the path of riders travelling in the opposite direction.

Local police released a statement confirming that a 70-year-old motorbike rider had been killed and died at the scene, the 26-year-old triathlete treated for severe injuries. The motorbike's passenger, a 50-year-old camera operator was treated in hospital for shock, and a police investigation is underway, although the race continued.

German broadcaster ARD ended its livestream however the feed on Ironman's website and YouTube channel continued, although with comments disabled. Ironman's social media updates have not reported on the race since 7.25am (BST), many of the replies on Twitter and Facebook expressing anger at the race continuing and the lack of communication about the collision.

One reply asked why there had not been an official statement, calling the silence "disgusting". "Sorry, but just stop it," another added. "Just stop and comment on the incident. Nobody cares about the race," another read.

In a statement, Ironman organisers said: "At 36km of the Ironman Hamburg bike course, a motorcycle race vehicle, carrying an official race photographer, was involved in a collision with a race participant.

"It is with our deepest regret to confirm the passing of the motorcycle operator from a significant medical event. Our thoughts and care are with the family whom we will support as we are able while they go through this difficult time.

"The race participant and the photographer received onsite care, before being transported to a nearby hospital where they continue to receive treatment. We thank the safety personnel and first responders who attended the scene to assist those involved in the incident.

"Ironman is continuing to work through the situation with local authorities. The health and wellness of all those involved in the event is paramount, and we will continue to produce the safest event possible with all stakeholders."

Dan is the news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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thereverent | 1 year ago

Having watched the footage the road at that point is way too narrow for the race to pass in both directions with motorbikes as well. Poor course design, plus far too many motorbikes in the same area.

Matthew Acton-Varian | 1 year ago

Under no circumstances should that race have continued after the incident. How distressing for the deceased's family. Poor management from the organisers.

Secret_squirrel replied to Matthew Acton-Varian | 1 year ago

Not sure I agree with a blanket cancel policy.  If there is a continuing risk to participants - and possibly there was  - then absolutely.

Otherwise - why cancel - its not going to bring the person back and will impact hundreds of others that have been preparing for months.

They dont cancel the London Marathon or Ride London when someone dies.

Mybike replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago

I agree why cancel the event if the other pertacipentes are still safe
Many of them train and save all year to do this lt sad that someone died yes but cancelling the event will not change anything

Robert Hardy replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago

If it was a road collision death in the UK the road would likely be closed for several hours for evidence collection, similarly for trainline fatalities, was that the case in this tragedy or was continuation of the event prioritised?

fenix replied to Matthew Acton-Varian | 1 year ago

I mean it's an awful thing to happen but do you cancel a football match if a spectator dies ? 

You've hundreds of athletes all over the place - you might as well finish the event - tragedies happen. 

I do wonder if the Motorcyclist had had a medical incident just before the crash even happened ?

Hirsute replied to fenix | 1 year ago
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