Motorcyclist killed after head-on crash with athlete on a bike during Ironman triathlon event in Hamburg as one competitor describes race organisation as a ‘complete farce’
- The 70-year-old motorcyclist was carrying a cameraman filming the race
- They collided head-on with a 26-year-old athlete coming the opposite way
- The athlete, on a bike, was flung across the road and suffered ‘serious injuries’
A motorbike rider died after colliding with an athlete during the Ironman triathlon European Championship event in Hamburg on Sunday.
The 70-year-old was carrying an official race photographer when there was a head-on crash with a triathlete cycling in the opposite direction.
Television footage of the crash showed the motorcycle appearing to overtake other bikes before colliding with the athlete, who was flung into the path of other competitors.
Organisers said the 26-year-old athlete was ‘seriously injured’ and was taken to hospital, while the photographer, 50, riding pillion suffered shock and also went to hospital.
The identities of those involved have not yet been revealed.
Television coverage showed the aftermath of the head-on collision during the Hamburg Ironman triathlon event which left a 70-year-old motorcycle rider dead
The motorbike crashed head-on into an athlete coming the other way on a bike
Television coverage on Germany’s ARD channel was interrupted as a mark of respect following the crash but the race – which consisted of a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike ride and a 26.2km run – later resumed.
With police at the scene of the crash, the athletes were briefly diverted from the planned route.
German competitor Jan Frodeno was critical of the organisers after crossing the finish line.
‘It was incredibly narrow, a complete farce. I was right next to it and saw the bike shatter into what felt like a thousand pieces,’ Frodeno said.
‘I know that such things must always be covered by the media, but athletes’ safety should come first.’
Frodeno only learned the crash had been fatal after completing the race.
Speaking to Bild, participant Timo Schaffeld said: ‘Unfortunately, the bike course was very fill. It was therefore foreseeable that there could be accidents.
‘There were many athletes on the second lap, with all the age groupers and the pros who had to overtake in the second row.
‘There were very many media bikes.’
One competitor described the race organisation as a ‘complete farce’ with ‘incredibly narrow’ gaps between the bikes for cameramen and photographers, and the athletes
A statement by local police read: ‘According to initial indications, there was a head-on collision between the escort motorcycle and an oncoming race cyclist.’
They also confirmed the motorcyclist died at the scene.
In a statement, organisers said: ‘It is with a heavy heart that we confirmed the passing of a motorcycle operator during the Ironman European Championship Hamburg.
‘At 36km of the Ironman Hamburg bike course, a credentialed motorcycle race vehicle collided with an age-group athlete who was riding on the racecourse in the opposite oncoming lane.
‘An event photographer on the motorcycle, who was also injured during the collision, has since been released from hospital. The race participant remains in hospital for further treatment.
‘We are devastated by this tragic accident.
‘On a day meant to be a celebration of the human spirit, we instead mourn the loss of a member of our triathlon community. Our sympathies are with all those affected.
‘Our priority always is ensuring the safety of our participants and those involved in the event. A police investigation is ongoing and we are co-operating with local authorities to understand the events that lead to the accident.’