Riders, officials gather in Germany to commemorate Amy Gillett

Tuesday will be one year since the tragic accident in Germany that took the life one of Australia's...

Tuesday will be one year since the tragic accident in Germany that took the life one of Australia's leading cyclists, Amy Gillett, and hospitalized her five Australian Institute of Sport teammates - Alexis Rhodes, Louise Yaxley, Lorian Graham, Katie Brown and Kate Nicholls - with life-threatening injuries.

On July 18, 2005, the team of six riders was hit by an out-of-control car while on a training ride the day before the start of the Thuringen Rhundfhart, Germany's biggest stage race for female cyclists. The tragedy was a huge shock to the global cycling community, and of the five survivors, only Alexis Rhodes and Kate Nichols have returned to competitive cycling.

To commemorate the anniversary of this day, a full schedule of events will take place in Germany over the next two days. Amy's parents, Mary and Denis, and her husband, Simon Gillett, have flown to Germany, as have Louise Yaxley, Kate Nichols and Katie Brown. Other Australian Cycling representatives will also be present, as will representatives from the Amy Gillet Foundation and the Australian Ambassador to Germany, Ian Kemish.

Starting this morning, there will be a media conference in Jena, after which Amy's parents will visit the hospital to thank the staff that treated the injured riders. Mr Kemish will make an official presentation of thanks on behalf of Australia.

Tonight, at the welcome dinner for the International Thuringen Rhundfahrt, Amy will be remembered among her cycling peers and the Amy Gillett Trophy will be announced.

Tomorrow morning, a private memorial service will take place at the accident site with Amy's parents, her husband, three of the survivors and other family friends who have made the trip to Germany. They will unveil a memorial plaque for Amy and a small service will be held by a local minister.

On Tuesday night, the local Mayor has organized a charity concert of which all the proceeds will go to the Amy Gillett Foundation.

Cyclingnews spoke to the general manager of the foundation, Melinda Jacobsen, who was on her way to the press conference to start the two days of events. Jacobsen said that everybody arrived in Jena last night and they had a small informal dinner.

"Obviously, it is a very sad occasion and the mood is somber," said Jacobsen, "but it will also be an opportunity to celebrate Amy's life. Of course out of adversity comes fortune and we have a very positive outcome with the Amy Gillett Foundation to make sure this kind of thing never happens again."

For further information on the Foundation, please visit the web site www.amygillett.org.au

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