A 48-YEAR-OLD van driver will face crown court trial over the death of an international triathlete who suffered fatal crash injuries while cycling in a time trial race on the A40 near Raglan.

Fifty-two-year-old mother-of-two Rebecca Comins – a member of Monmouth Triathlon Club – died following a collision with a Vauxhall Movano van in the early evening of June 2, 2022.

Romanian-born Vasile Barbu of Old Hereford Road, Abergavenny, denied a charge of causing her death by dangerous driving when he appeared at Cardiff Crown Court and was bailed for trial to April 29, 2024.

Rebecca was cycling in the weekly Monmouthshire Wheelers time-trial with her son George when the incident happened around 7.20pm.

The road was closed between the Hardwick gyratory at Abergavenny and the Raglan roundabout for some nine hours after the crash.

The tragic incident came nine years after a male cyclist racing on the same stretch in an Abergavenny Festival of Cycling handicap race suffered fatal injuries in a head-on collision with a van on the Hardwick roundabout.

Rebecca, from Caldicot, had represented Great Britain at age-group level in triathlon and was Vintage Veteran Champion of the Welsh Triathlon Super Series.

She was also Caldicot RFC’s 1st XV’s first aider and masseur and competed for Chepstow Harriers, Caldicot Runnng Club and Newport Phoenix Cycling Club, as well as Monmouth Tri Club.

Among tributes paid to her following her death, MTC’s Phil Tilley said: “Rebecca or (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.

“Becky 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,” the added.

Welsh Triathlon described her as a “fantastic ambassador for our sport”.

“Becky was a fierce competitor, but with it had a positivity and energy that was infectious,” they said.

A statement from her family released at the time through Gwent Police said: “Our beautiful Rebecca was taken from us on Thursday 2 June doing something that she loved.

“She was a caring and loving wife to Stephen and an amazing mum to both George and Millie.”

After the collision, Monmouthshire Wheelers cancelled upcoming time trials until further notice out of respect for Rebecca and her family.