Jonathan Cantwell dies aged 36

Former pro rode for Saxo-Tinkoff, Drapac and Jittery Joe's

Former professional rider Jonathan Cantwell, who retired at the end of 2014, having ridden for teams including WorldTour team Saxo-Tinkoff, Drapac and US Continental squad Jittery Joe's, has died. The Australian was just 36.

Writing in a reaction to a post of condolence by the organisers of the Tour Down Under stage race on Wednesday, former Olympic and world champion track sprinter Anna Meares wrote: "My heart aches heavy to learn that Jonathan Cantwell has died. Love and thoughts with his family and friends and indeed community."

Cantwell began his career with US Continental team Jittery Joe's in 2008, and went on to ride for the Fly V Australia Continental team, where he stayed for the next three seasons, competing on the Australian and US circuits.

A sprinter, Cantwell won two stages of the Herald Sun Tour in 2009, and finished 14th in that year's Philadelphia International Championship one-day race in Pennsylvania, in the US, which was won by German sprint star André Greipel.

Cantwell's true breakthrough came when he signed for Bjarne Riis' Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank outfit for 2012, joining up with Alberto Contador and Rafal Majka, and Australians Luke Roberts and David Tanner.

Early in the 2012 season, Cantwell sprinted to two stage victories at the Tour de Taiwan, and was picked to ride that season's Tour de France – the only Grand Tour that he would ride during his career – where he made the most of the opportunity, making it to Paris in 137th place overall, and taking sixth place on stage 4 between Abbeville and Rouen in the bunch sprint, which was again won by Greipel.

His best results of the 2013 season were third place on the opening stage of the Critérium International and second place overall at the Worlds Ports Classic. Cantwell left Saxo-Tinkoff at the end of the season, and spent 2014 riding for the Australian Pro Continental squad Drapac, retiring at the end of that year.

Cyclingnews would like to extend its sincere condolences to Cantwell's family and friends.

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