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South African mountain biker Burry Stander has been struck and killed by a motor vehicle. The AFP reported that he was hit by a mini-bus while on a training ride near Shelly Beach in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Others have reported that he was struck by a taxi.
A post on Stander’s Facebook page earlier today confirmed the news: “We are truly saddened to have to confirm that Burry Stander has passed away following an accident involving a vehicle while riding on the KZN South Coast today.”
Cycling SA president William Newman told a local news outlet that the 25-year-old cyclist was riding when the accident happened. “[Stander] was out training, and apparently there was a motorist accident,” Newman said.
Stander, the 2009 U23 Cross-Country World Champion, had recently emerged as one of the sport’s top elite riders. In 2012 the Specialized rider became a consistent podium threat and in June he won the World Cup race in Windham, New York, his second career elite World Cup victory. In August, he finished fifth at the London Olympics.
Many of Stander’s friends and competitors took to Twitter to mourn the cyclist.
“Never felt so empty since my dad passed away when i was a kid. @africanmtbkid i will never ever forget you,” wrote Christoph Sauser, a teammate of Stander’s in the Cape Epic stage race, referencing Stander’s Twitter username.
“Terrible period for MTB scene! And their own families...RIP @africanmtbkid RiP Burry. condolences for SA and family,” wrote 2010 XC World Champion José Hermida.
Stander celebrates his victory at the 2012 Windham World Cup race. (Photo: Colin Meagher)