Stander was ‘more than a champion’

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IOL jan 4 burry stander

REUTERS

Burry Stander, 25, who was killed while cycling on the South Coast. File photo

Durban -

Mountain biker Burry Stander will be remembered by his family as being more than just a cycling champion, his father Charles said on Friday.

“For us Burry will always be more than just a mountain-bike champion. In fact, he was a champion on and off his bike,” he said in a statement.

“For him his family always came first. He never hesitated to help when, and where ever he could.”

Charles described his son's death as the worst moment of his life.

“No parent should ever have to see his child lying on a tarred road after an accident, knowing that there is absolutely nothing he can do to save his life. Words cannot even begin to describe how one feels when it happens. It was terrible.”

Stander, 25, was returning from a training ride in Shelley Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast when he was hit by a minibus taxi. He died at the scene.

Police said the driver would appear in the Port Shepstone Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Following consultations with the Directorate of Public Prosecutions it was decided to prosecute the driver on a charge of culpable homicide.

Charles said cyclists who were planning to participate in memorial rides in Stander's memory should not be too emotional.

“This is the last thing that Burry would have wanted.”

Stander's funeral arrangements would be finalised next week.

Sports marketing consultant, Zoon Cronje, who issued the statement for the family, said a Burry Stander Foundation would be established to help fund a campaign to bring about a change in legislation to help make cycling safer.

“Our initial plan with the Burry Stander Foundation is to raise funds to help to pay for any legal costs that may be incurred to drive the process,” he said.

“Later on we hope to not only assist various safe cycling initiatives, but also to assist talented young riders to fulfil their dreams.”

Stander, 25, was fifth in the men's cross country race at the 2012 London Olympics.

Four years earlier, at the Beijing Games he finished 15th in the cross country event.

The following season he rose to prominence on the global stage when he won the Under-23 title in the Mountain bike World Cup series.

In 2011, Stander became the first South African to win the Cape Epic stage race in the Western Cape, with Swiss partner Christoph Sauser, and the pair defended their title in 2012.

Stander was married to elite road cyclist Cherise Taylor in May last year, just three months before he narrowly missed out on a medal at the London Olympics. - Sapa


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