Madariaga: Cabedo’s death is a tremendous blow

Euskaltel-Euskadi manager Miguel Madariaga has said that hearing about the death of Víctor Cabedo on Wednesday afternoon was his worst moment during his long career in the sport. Madariaga received the news from Euskaltel team leader Samuel Sánchez, who was a close friend of Cabedo and rode with the 23-year-old at last week’s Tour of Britain.

“This is very hard to take,” Madariaga told El Correo. “There have been some other very difficult moments, but we have never had to deal with the death of a young man.”

“This team is a family and this has been a tremendous blow. We don’t know exactly what happened. I have spoken with his brother and he told me that Víctor was in a head-on collision with a car and died instantly,” Madariaga explained.

Cabedo, who hailed from Onda in south-east Spain, was just the third non-Basque rider to appear in Euskaltel’s ranks following Iñigo Cuesta and 2008 Olympic champion Sánchez. Like those two and many others from all around Spain, he started his career in the Basque Country, before signing with Euskaltel this season. “He had a big future ahead of him. He was aiming high. Even though he was only 23, he was already a great professional,” said Sánchez. “He paid attention to everything and learned a lot. He was serious and educated.”

The whole Euskaltel team paid tribute to their fallen comrade in an open letter, which reads: “We have received the sad news of the death of our comrade Víctor. Without knowing very well what to say, as we have no words, your companions on the roads of the world would like to express our condolences to your family and friends. You are leaving us at the age of 23 with your sporting and personal future still ahead of you. You still had much do both on and off the bike. We who knew you will remember you as a young man who was passionate about cycling and who had the desire to keep improving. We all embrace you.”

Cabedo’s funeral takes place this evening (Thursday) in his home town of Onda.

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).