Top SA cyclist killed on training ride

2011-01-20 00:00

PRETORIA — The father of top SA woman cyclist Carla Swart, who was killed while on a training ride yesterday, said he does not blame the truck driver who hit her.

“From the information at my disposal, it appears as if the driver did everything in his ability to try and avoid the accident,” Deon Swart said from Atlanta in the United States where the family live.

“I think Carla may well have made an error of judgment as she is more used to the American roads where the cars drive on the right-hand side.” The accident occurred while Carla was doing time-trial training in the Free State.

Cycling South Africa team manager Barry Austin was in a car behind her. He said he saw her cycling computer falling off and stopped to pick it up. “When I got out, a truck drove past me. Carla looked over her left shoulder while riding … she swung out to the right and ended up in front of the truck. I could see the driver of the truck hitting the brakes. He even swerved in an effort to avoid hitting Carla, but it was in vain.” Austin said Swart was still breathing when he got to her, but she was covered in blood.

He rushed to hospital with her. “The doctor told me that she was already dead when I got there.”

Deon Swart said his daughter lived for cycling. She would almost certainly have represented South Africa at next year’s Olympic Games in London, where it was thought she had a good chance of a medal.

She finished 10th in the Road Cycling World Championship in Australia and eighth in the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

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