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SOUTH AFRICAN SPORTS CONFEDERATION AND OLYMPIC COMMITTEE

SASCOC mourn loss of Olympian mountain-biker Stander

SASCOC on Thursday mourned the loss of the country’s leading mountain-biker Burry Stander in a road accident in KwaZulu-Natal.

Stander, 25, was killed in a collision with a taxi while training near his home in Shelley Beach on the South Coast.

He was a two-time Olympian, having competed in Beijing in 2008 and in London last year where he finished a brave fifth in a thrilling race.

Said the national Olympic governing body’s President Gideon Sam: “This is indeed terrible news to start 2013 with. Burry was the epitome of an Olympic athlete ÔÇô talented, ultra-competitive but at the same time extremely humble and a true gentleman.

“SASCOC, the cycling fraternity, and the entire South African sporting community mourns his passing and sends our prayers to his wife and family.

“I’m totally shattered because athletes of Burry’s calibre are not easily replaced. It’s an enormous loss to the entire cycling family.

“I’ve said this time and again but it is really time to work even harder at protecting both our runners and cyclists who used the roads daily to do their training.”

Stander married fellow 2008 Beijing Olympian Cherise Stander (nee Taylor) in May last year.

He was a feared rider on the global circuit having won events in all corners of the globe. He was a three-time SA mountain bike champion as well as a winner of the gruelling Cape Epic multi-stage off-road event.

Two years ago in January, another leading South African cyclist, Carla Swart, died when she was hit by a truck while training in the Free State.