Jason Lowndes has died at the age of 23 after being hit by a car on a training ride in Bendigo, Australia. According to the Herald Sun, Lowndes was riding out to meet someone on Sedgwick Road, Mandurang, when a 20-year-old driver struck him from behind. She stopped at the scene and was cooperating with the police.
The authorities are urging witnesses or anyone with information on the crash to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential report at crimestoppersvic.com.au.
Lowndes raced for Israel Cycling Academy this season and was set to race for the British team JLT Condor in 2018.
The collision occurred on Friday afternoon as Lowndes was training near his home, as confirmed by Israel Cycling Academy and Cycling Australia.
"We are deeply grieved by the tragic death of our dear friend, rider, and teammate, Jason Lowndes," read a statement from Israel Cycling Academy.
"Jason, who just celebrated his 23rd birthday 8 days ago, was hit by a car while training today on his bike near his home town in Bendigo, Victoria.
"Jason raced for Israel Cycling Academy during the 2017 season and his constant broad smile, ever cheerful personality, and warm heart will be terribly missed forever by all of us. We wish to send our deep condolences to Jason's family and friends all over the world. Good bye, wonderful mate."
Lowndes' cycling career began in 2015 with the Garneau-Québecor squad, and he turned professional with Drapac in 2016. Later that year he finished sixth in the U23 road race at the World Championships in Qatar, underlining his potential as a sprinter.
As Drapac merged with the WorldTour Cannondale set-up, Lowndes moved to Israel Cycling Academy for the 2017 season, themselves racing with professional status for the first time. His best results were second and third place finishes on stages at the Tour of Austria.
Lowndes signed with JLT Condor for 2018, a move he insisted was not a step backwards despite the drop down to Continental level. Tragically, he was denied the opportunity to fulfil his potential.
Cyclingnews extends its sincere condolences to Lowndes' family and friends.