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Former track and road star Andreas Kappes dies of heart failure

Retired pro cyclist Andreas Kappes, a former Giro d'Italia stage winner and Six Day star, died on Tuesday at the age of 52. The German suffered heart failure after having an allergic reaction to an insect bite, according to the German Cycling Federation.

Kappes got his start on the track like many Germans, becoming a junior world champion in 1983 in the points race. He took to the Six Day circuit, chalking up 24 victories throughout his career, but had equal success on the road.

The Bremen-born rider won the Omloop Het Volk in 1991, a stage of the Giro in 1988, and stages of Paris-Nice and the Tour de Suisse among others.

His contemporary Johan Bruyneel remembered Kappes on Twitter, writing: "I'm shocked and saddened reading the tragic news that Andreas Kappes has passed away. Only 52 years old, always a classy guy. I've known Andreas since the amateur ranks when we were 18-19 years old. He was a tough rival on the six days velodrome circuit. R.I.P. brother."

Rolf Aldag called Kappes "tactically one of Germany's best racers", saying "To beat Andi you not only had to be better, you had to be lucky, too. He always worked hard and had morale, which made him a racer. As an athlete, he was very, very ambitious."

Kappes was not immune to the doping culture of his time, and served a six-month ban for nandrolone in 1997. He tested positive again in 2000, but was cleared after successfully arguing a contaminated food supplement caused his positive.

He continued racing on the track through the 2007-2008 season before retiring. He spent time as a window washer before returning to cycling to run the post-Tour criterium in Neuss, which is due to take place on Wednesday.

"The race will take place as planned, even if we are all deeply upset," said Stephan Hilgers, chairman of the organizing club Neusser cyclists, The race will hold a minute of silence to remember Kappes, and racers will wear mourning bands on their sleeves. André Greipel and Rick Zabel are among those set to compete in the race.

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