The organisers of the Thüringen Rundfahrt women's race have presented a cheque for 25,000 Euro (AUD 40,000) to the Amy Gillett Foundation at the official launch of the 2006 event in Zeulenroda. The Foundation was established in the wake of the tragic accident in July this year when an out of control car ploughed into the Australian women's cycling team who were training the day before the start of the Thüringen event. Champion cyclist and rower Amy Gillett was killed in the crash and her five team mates were seriously injured.
Retired Australian cyclist, Margaret Hemsley, a three time competitor in the Thüringen stage race, attended the launch to accept the cheque presented by Uwe Jahn, Vice President of the Thüringer Cycling Association. Hemsley and her husband Greg Boorer live in Germany and both travelled to Zeulenroda to support the team in the wake of the accident. Hemsley also has a role as a team physiotherapist and Boorer is a mechanic with the national team.
"The 25,000 Euro includes the prize money of this year's event which the riders and sponsors generously donated," said Hemsley after the presentation. "It also includes public donations, a portion of the profits of the Bad Homburg criterium (one of the post Tour de France criteriums featuring the pro men riders) and money raised by the local football club.
"Thueringen-Rundfahrt Tour Manager, Christian Bergemann, also made a personal contribution of 1,200 Euros," added Hemsley, who also provided an update on the condition of the injured riders at the presentation. "We will never forget the kindness and care we received from people in the Thüringer region. From the first aid of the rescue workers and policemen and the excellent treatment by doctors and hospital staff to the support and best wishes that flooded in from the German people. It was overwhelming and on behalf of the Australian team and their families I thank you again."
Race organisers also confirmed the establishment of the Amy Gillett Memorial Prize to be awarded to the cyclist who best represents the values of fair play and teamwork during the Thüringen Rundfahrt. In 2006, this perpetual trophy will be presented for the first time by Amy's parents Denis and Mary Safe. More information on the race next scheduled for July 18-23 is available on the race website www.thueringenrundfahrt.com