Motorcyclist killed after head-on crash with athlete on bike at Ironman triathlon in Hamburg as competitor describes race staging as ‘complete farce’
- The 70-year-old biker carried a cameraman filming the race
- They collided head-on with an oncoming 26-year-old athlete
- The athlete, on a bicycle, was thrown across the road and suffered “serious injuries”
A biker has 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 pass other motorcycles before colliding with the athlete, who was thrown into the path of other competitors.
Organizers said the 26-year-old was ‘seriously injured’ and taken to hospital, while the 50-year-old photographer, a riding passenger, suffered shock and also traveled to the hospital.
The identities of those involved have not yet been revealed.
TV coverage showed the aftermath of the head-on collision at the Hamburg Ironman triathlon event that left a 70-year-old biker dead
The motorcycle collided head-on with an oncoming athlete on a bicycle
TV coverage on Germany’s ARD channel was cut off as a sign of respect after the crash, but the race – which consisted of a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and 26km run, 2 km – then resumed.
With police at the scene of the accident, the athletes were briefly diverted from the planned route.
German competitor Jan Frodeno criticized the organizers after crossing the finish line.
“It was incredibly tight, a complete farce. I was right next to it and saw the bike smash into a million pieces,” Frodeno said.
“I know things like this should always be covered in the media, but athlete safety should come first.”
Frodeno only learned that the accident had been fatal after he finished the race.
Talk to Picture, participant Timo Schaffeld said: “Unfortunately, the bike course was very busy. It was therefore foreseeable that there could be accidents.
“There were a lot of athletes in the second round, with all age groups and pros having to overtake in second place.
“There were very many media bikes.”
A competitor described the organization of the race as a “complete farce” with “incredibly narrow” gaps between the bikes of the cameramen and photographers and the athletes.
A local police statement read: ‘Initial indications there has been a head-on collision between the escort motorbike and an oncoming racing cyclist.’
They also confirmed that the motorcyclist died at the scene.
In a statement, the organizers said: “It is with heavy hearts that we confirm the death of a motorcycle rider during the Ironman European Championship in Hamburg.
“36 km from the Ironman Hamburg bike course, an accredited motorcycle racing vehicle collided with an age group athlete who was riding the racetrack in the opposite lane.
“An event photographer on the bike, who was also injured in the collision, has since been released from hospital. The race participant remains in the 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 go out to all those affected.
“Our priority is always to ensure the safety of our participants and those involved in the event. A police investigation is ongoing and we are cooperating with local authorities to understand the events leading up to the accident.