Lino Gastaldello, owner and chairman of Italian bicycle manufacturer Wilier-Triestina, was killed on Saturday morning when hit by a car while on his regular ride in Treviso, Italy.
Italian website ilgiornaledivicenza.it reported that the 71-year-old was struck at approximately 10:30am by a vehicle driven by a Macedonian citizen who lived nearby. After receiving emergency treatment at the scene, Gastaldello was rushed to hospital in Castelfranco Veneto, where he passed away two hours later.
Gastaldello had been a key figure in rebuilding the Wilier brand after it suffered a decline in fortunes throughout the 1950s and 1960s. One of Italy's most recognisable marques, he led the company to its 100th anniversary in 2006.
Wilier has been associated with some of Italy's highest profile cyclists, with Marco Pantani, Damiano Cunego and Alessandro Ballan among the riders to have raced on their products in the past twenty years.
Wilier's highest profile partner, Lampre-Farnese-Vini, issued a statement expressing their sadness at the news of Gastaldello's passing.
"The news of the death of Lino Gastaldello, owner of Wilier company, has shocked the team Lampre-Farnese Vini," it said. "In this sad moment, all the cyclists, managers, staff and our patron, Galbusera, would like to say farewell and thanks to Lino, a good friend of the fucsia-blue squad who lived with the team through fantastic moments. A hug to the Gastaldello family and to Wilier company workers."
Gastaldello is survived by his four children. Cyclingnews extends its deepest condolences to the friends and family of Lino Gastaldello.