24 hours of Dubai cancelled after rider's death

By Susan Westemeyer

The 24 Hours of Dubai mountain bike race was been cut short after a fatal accident. "We ended the race, after a rider died," said Stephan Salscheider, race organiser. "We are shocked and stunned by the death. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends. In consultation with the other participants, we have decided to end the race immediately out of respect for him and his family."

The 45 year-old rider, whose name was not immediately available, was found laying unconscious on the ground not quite two hours after the race had started. Medical personnel were rushed to the scene but were unable to help. There were no witness as to what happened. The official cause of death is not yet known. Organizers said after the accident that the crash may not have caused the rider's death.

Further examinations are planned, and the bike will also be checked for possible defects. BikeRadar.com has since identified the rider as Thomas Graessler and reported that he fell while negotiating steps into the amphitheatre section, sustaining "severe neck injuries".

The 24-hour race was the first mountain bike race in the United Arab Emirates.

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