Cycling

Cycling's lost 'one of the best'

Jeanne Nell (Picture: @jeannenell - Twitter)
Jeanne Nell (Picture: @jeannenell - Twitter)
Cape Town - Cycling SA is devastated at the news of the untimely death of multiple track cycling champion Jeanne Nell, the organisation said on Wednesday.

"The track cycling community is a close community, we're all like family," Cycling SA president William Newman said in a statement.

"This is very sad news and we have lost a family member, who was a great role model and a true gentleman."

Nell sustained fatal head injuries in a tragic fall during a keirin race at the Bellville Velodrome in Cape Town on Tuesday night and later died in hospital.

He represented his country at the UCI Track World Cup in Manchester last year, and was part of the South African squad for the upcoming Commonwealth Games. He was also the current South African keirin champion.

"South Africa's cycling community today mourns the loss of not only one of its top sprinters, but even more so the loss of one of its most beloved sons," Cycling SA track commission director Johan Smith said.

"Jeanne will be missed for much more than his cycling talent. He was a true champion, and led by example, both on and off the track. Larger than life, he stole so many hearts with his boyish charm and exuberance. This is indeed a very, very sad day.

"On behalf of Cycling SA's Management and Executive Committees, the Track Cycling Commission and the greater cycling fraternity, we express our deepest sympathy and condolences to Nikki and his family, and his many friends."

Cycling coach Ricky Kulsen described Nell as "one of the best sprinters South Africa has ever had... a true champion lost to South African cycling".

SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) president Gideon Sam also expressed his condolences.

"This time last year we were still reeling with shock at the loss of Olympic cyclist Burry Stander.

"A year later and we are again in mourning for one of our sporting fraternity. Our hearts go out to Jeanne's family, friends and love ones at this extremely sad time."

Keirin is a form of motor-paced cycle racing in which track cyclists sprint for victory following a speed-controlled start behind a motorised or non-motorised pacer.

Friends, fans and family of Jeanne Nell are invited to share their memories and tributes, and to light a candle for him, on his profile at Remembered.co.za.
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