The life of Australian cyclist Amy Gillett ended abruptly at the age of 29 on a road in rural Germany in July 2005, shocking the cycling community around the world. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer talked to Amy's mother, Mary Safe, and to Emma Pooley, this year's winner of the award established to commemorate Amy Gillett.
"Amy's life and all that it means can still live on in all of our memories. As parents losing a daughter, that is so important to us," said Mary Safe, the mother of the Australian cyclist, still dealing with the tragic loss of her gifted daughter.
Following her death in 2005, the organizers of the Thüringen Rundfahrt introduced the Amy Gillett Award, which is given to the woman who best exhibits outstanding fairness and competitiveness in the race.
Amy Gillett was riding the course of the time trial for the Thüringen Rundfahrt on July 18, 2005, when a teenaged driver lost control of her car and ploughed into the Australian women's team, striking all six riders, killing Amy and seriously injuring the other five.
That tragic accident rocked the cycling world as it epitomized the daily dangers faced by every cyclist, and realized their worst fears: that of being hit in one's prime while riding with friends and fellow racers.
The organizers of the German race were equally traumatized by the event, as was most of the German public. So an award was established, among other initiatives, and this year it was presented to British rider Emma Pooley, of the new Team Specialized, who won the third stage of the 2007 edition of the race with a daring 80km solo attack, which also put her into the leader's jersey as she crossed the line almost five minutes ahead of the field.
Pooley eventually surrendered the lead to German powerhouse Judith Arndt (T-Mobile) as the German squad stepped up the pressure to take out the major German women's tour, but the British rider continued to make her presence felt, and eventually finished in fifth on GC and also with the mountains jersey.
After learning of this year's winner of the award, Mary Safe did some research - and was astonished by what she found. She had little doubt the right woman had won. "We noticed that Emma, like Amy, liked to ride in front for long distances alone, as well as trying hard all day and never giving up."
To read the full Amy Gillett Award feature, click here.