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By Agence France Presse
Top Australian cyclist Amy Gillett was killed and five compatriots injured on Monday when a car plowed into them when they were training in eastern Germany.
Gillett, 29, took up competitive cycling in 2000, having rowed for Australia at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The rider from Ballarat, Victoria, was married to world champion oarsman Simon Gillett and was considered a medal favorite for next year’s Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. Gillett won bronze in the 2005 Australian road time trial championship and had been racing at top level for five years.
“Amy was a unique athlete who represented at the elite level in two sports,” Australia Olympic Committee president John Coates said in a statement.
The injured were evacuated by helicopter to five hospitals around Leipzig following the incident.
Louise Yaxley and Alexis Rhodes were in intensive care with multiple injuries. Yaxley, 20, suffered “major trauma” that required surgery while Rhodes, 23, had a thoracic fracture and serious concussion.
Katie Brown, Kate Nichols and Lorian Graham were listed in stable condition. Brown, 22, had a badly fractured leg; Nichols, 20, sustained soft tissue damage and torn tendons in her hand; and Graham, 27, had multiple fractures of her knees, fingers and both collarbones.
The riders were loosening up after a long drive from Italy and checking out the time trial course for the Thuringen Rundfahrt, Germany’s major women’s tour, when an 18-year-old woman lost control of her car and struck the riders head-on.
The race, originally scheduled to start Wednesday, has been postponed a day as a mark of respect.