Tributes paid to talented sportswoman after cycling race crash
TRIBUTES have been paid to a talented sportswoman after her death in a cycling race collision with a van.
Officers have not officially identified the rider who died near Raglan on Thursday evening (June 2), but tributes have been paid to mother-of-two Rebecca Comins, a member of Monmouth Triathlon Club and Newport Phoenix Cycling Club, who was also Caldicot RFC 1st XV’s first aider and masseur.
A 46-year-old Abergavenny man was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving following the crash on the A40 dual carriageway.
Police have launched an appeal for witnesses who were driving on the road prior to the collision, which happened during a Monmouthshire Wheelers time-trial race.
All-round sportswoman Rebecca, who was 52 and from Caldicot, represented GB in her age-group at triathlon, was the Vintage Veteran Champion of the Welsh Triathlon Super Series and also ran for Chepstow Harriers and Caldicot Runnng Club.
The road was closed between the Hardwick gyratory at Abergavenny and the Raglan roundabout for some nine hours after the crash, which happened shortly after 7pm.
The tragic incident came nine years after a male cyclist racing on the road in the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling suffered fatal injuries in a head-on collision with a van on the Hardwick roundabout.
Paying tribute, Phil Tilley of Monmouth Triathlon Club said: “Rebecca (Beckie) was admired as an amazing athlete who set high standards in her training and results.
“She will be sorely missed and remembered for the support she provided other athletes. At events she was always there to cheer you on and as a club member, always offering to assist wherever she could.
“Beckie was also a huge advocate of our Aquathlon and went out of her way to support with the organisation and running of the event.”
Caldicot RFC posted: “The committee, players and members are saddened to hear of the tragic loss of Rebecca Comins.
“Beckie made a huge contribution to the club as our first team sports masseur and first aider.
“Our condolences, sympathy and best wishes are extended to Steve, George, Millie and family.”
Newport Phoenix CC posted: “All the committee, riders and family members of Newport Phoenix Cycling Club are saddened by the tragic loss of our club member, Rebecca Comins (Beckie).
“She was the soul of the club and would always think of others before herself. A true professional on and off the bike and a smile that would light up any room.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Stephen, George and Millie at this tragic time.”
Simon Williams of Monmouthshire Wheelers posted on Sunday: “Because of the tragic circumstances from last week, we have made the decision to cancel our time trials until further notice out of respect for Rebbeca and her family.
“Our thoughts are with Becs’ family at this very sad time.”
Rebecca, who worked for the Aneurin Bevan Health Board and lived in Caldicot, won the women’s title in the Cardiff 100 Miles TT 15-mile cycling time-trial on the same stretch of road in February.
Cyclists had been taking part in Thursday’s race after meeting at the Hardwick restaurant lay-by at 7pm.
A Gwent Police spokesperson said on Thursday night: “We’re appealing for witnesses after a road traffic collision on the A40 near Raglan at around 7.20pm on Thursday, June 2.
“Officers attended and the collision involved a bicycle and a van – a white Vauxhall Movano.
“Paramedics from the Welsh Ambulance Service also attended and confirmed that the cyclist, a woman... had died at the scene.
“Her next of kin have been informed and are receiving support from specialist officers.
“A 46-year-old man from the Abergavenny area was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving and remains in police custody.
“The A40 is currently closed between the Hardwick gyratory and the roundabout at Raglan in both directions.
“Anyone with information about the collision is asked to contact us.
“We’re asking for anyone who may have witnessed the collision or any motorists with dashcam footage that were using the A40 between 7pm and 7.30pm and between Abergavenny and Raglan to contact us.
“You can call us on 101 or send us a direct message on Facebook or Twitter, quoting log reference 2200184652 with any details. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
One person who responded to the Gwent Police post about the accident said: “Time trials are run weekly in the summer on that road and full safety assessments are carried out.”
A poster who described himself as a retired policeman said he passed the racing cyclists around 7pm, and there were “warning signs placed at the start of the dual carriageway”.
“Bikes were well lit and very clearly visible for up to a mile even in broad daylight, due to the bright flashing rear lights…”
He had seen them “keep to the nearside of the lane about a metre from the white line showing the edge of the carriageway.
“On the whole nine-mile length of the road I saw no more than six riders and all traffic was moving into the right hand lane very responsibly so as not to endanger the riders…
“They were not ignoring traffic rules and were not causing any problems for other road users… none were riding abreast.”
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