Top South African mountain biker killed in road accident

South Africa's Burry Stander (R) competes in the cross-country mountain bike race of the London 2012 Olympic on August 12, 2012.

Story highlights

  • Burry Stander is hit by a vehicle while on a training ride in South Africa
  • He was the country's most successful mountain biker
  • He finished fifth in his event at the Olympic Games in London last year
  • Stander missed out on a medal by just four seconds

South African mountain bike star Burry Stander, who narrowly missed out on a medal at the London Olympics, has been killed in a road accident.

Stander, 25, was on a training ride when he was hit Thursday by a vehicle in Shelly Beach, on the country's southeast coast, according to Cycling South Africa, the national cycling body.

Details of the accident are still being investigated, it said.

"Not only is this a loss to South African sport, but we have lost a true gentleman who through his professionalism, modesty and humility, constantly showing sheer guts, represented our country with great pride," Cycling South Africa said in the statement released Thursday.

The organization expressed its condolences to Stander's family, including his wife and parents.

Stander finished fifth in the Men's Cross Country mountain bike event at the Olympic Games in London last year.

Human to Hero: Adrien Niyonshuti
Human to Hero: Adrien Niyonshuti

    JUST WATCHED

    Human to Hero: Adrien Niyonshuti

MUST WATCH

Human to Hero: Adrien Niyonshuti 02:57

It was the second Olympics for Stander, who had finished 15th in the same event at the Beijing Games.

He rode a superb race to move through the field in a race won by Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic from Nino Schurter of Switzerland.

Italy's Marco Fontana was third, 25 seconds adrift, with Stander only missing out on the podium by four seconds in a close finish.

He had won the 2011 African championships to book his place at the Games. Adrien Niyonshuti was fourth in the same race to become the first Rwandan to qualify for an Olympic competition.

Stander had recently married the multiple South African road race champion Cherise Taylor.

      CNN Recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.