Burry Stander, a South African mountain biker and Olympian, was killed Thursday after being struck by a motor vehicle while training near his home on the nation’s South Coast. “This is a massive tragedy and we are all stunned at the suddenness and impact that this will have on everybody in the world of cycling,” states KZN Mountain Biking on its Facebook page.
Image of Burry Stander is courtesy of the Specialized S-Racing Team
Stander, 25, an international star and fifth-place finisher at the 2012 London Olympics, was riding alone when he was struck by a car, possibly a taxi. Details are still emerging.
The cycling community is in mourning.
Bicycling SA editor Mike Finch is quoted by Eyewitness News as saying of Stander: “I think he is one of those first South Africans that has proved to the rest of South Africa that you can be the best in the world. This is why this is such a sad day, because he has not only been a great cyclist, but a great ambassador for the sport around the world and around South Africa.”
Bike magazine editor-in-chief Joe Parking had a similar reaction: “From everything I know or have heard, Burry Stander was the real deal, a mountain biker with skills, stamina and charisma–a true ambassador for the sport. His tragic accident marks a very sad day for mountain-bike racing and the mountain-bike community.”
According to Bicycling South Africa, Stander’s career was highlighted by numerous national and international titles. The cross-country specialist was a two-time winner of the Cape Epic race in his homeland.
Stander is survived by his wife and fellow star rider, Cherise.
Another KZN Mountain Biking post reads: “Our deepest sympathies and prayers go to the Burry’s wonderful and close-knit family. This will be the most difficult time they have ever faced and all we can do is pray that they are able to cope with such a loss.
“Burry was loved and respected by tens of thousands of people all over the world and they will feel the pain of the family. Burry we loved you in life and we will always love the legacy that you have left us in South Africa. You have been our finest mountain biker ever and one of the best in the world. May you Rest in Peace.”