Tributes have been paid to a talented sportswoman after her death in a cycling race collision with a van.
Gwent Police have officially identified the cyclist as Rebecca Comins, Caldicot RFC 1st XV’s first aider and masseur who rode for Newport Phoenix CC.
Police have launched an appeal for witnesses who were driving on the road prior to the collision, which happened during a Monmouthshire Wheelers time-trial race.
All-round sportswoman Rebecca, who was 52 and a mother of two from Caldicot, competed for Monmouth Triathlon Club and represented GB in her age-group at triathlon, was the Vintage Veteran Champion of the Welsh Triathlon Super Series and also ran for Chepstow Harriers and Caldicot Runnng Club.
The road was closed between the Hardwick gyratory at Abergavenny and the Raglan roundabout for some nine hours after the crash, which happened shortly after 7pm.
The tragic incident came nine years after a male cyclist racing on the same stretch in an Abergavenny Festival of Cycling handicap race suffered fatal injuries in a head-on collision with a van on the Hardwick roundabout.
Rebecca’s family and various sports clubs and bodies Rebecca was linked to, have paid tribute to her.
Earlier today (Wednesday June 8) Gwent Police released the following statement from the family of Rebecca Comins.
They said: ““Our beautiful Rebecca was taken from us on Thursday 2 June doing something she loved.
“She was a caring and loving wife to Stephen and an amazing mum to both George and Millie.
“We ask people to respect our privacy at this sad time and allow us to grieve as a family.”
Caldicot RFC posted on Saturday: “The committee, players and members are saddened to hear of the tragic loss of Rebecca Comins.
“Becky made a huge contribution to the club as our first team sports masseur and first aider.
“Our condolences, sympathy and best wishes are extended to Steve, George, Millie and family.”
Newport Phoenix CC posted: “All the committee, riders and family members of Newport Phoenix Cycling Club are saddened by the tragic loss of our club member, Rebecca Comins (Beckie).
“She was the soul of the club and would always think of others before herself. A true professional on and off the bike and a smile that would light up any room.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Stephen, George and Millie at this tragic time.”
Phil Tilley of Monmouth Triathlon Club said: “Rebecca or (Beckie) was admired as an amazing athlete who set high standards in her training and results.
“She will be sorely missed and remembered for the support she provided other athletes.
“At events she was always there to cheer you on and as a club member always offering to assist wherever she could.
“Beckie was also a huge advocate of our Aquathlon and went out of her way to support with the organisation and running of the event.”
Simon Williams of time-trial organisers Monmouthshire Wheelers posted on Sunday: “Because of the tragic circumstances from last week, we have made the decision to cancel our time trials until further notice out of respect for Rebbeca and her family. Our thoughts are with Becs’ family at this very sad time.”
Rebecca, who lived in Caldicot and worked for the Aneurin Bevan Health Board, won the women’s title in the Cardiff 100 Miles TT 15-mile cycling time-trial on the same stretch of road in February.
Cyclists had been taking part in Thursday’s race after meeting at the Hardwick restaurant lay-by at 7pm.
A Gwent Police spokesperson said: “We’re appealing for witnesses after a road traffic collision on the A40 near Raglan at around 7.20pm on Thursday, June 2.
“Officers attended and the collision involved a bicycle and a van – a white Vauxhall Movano.
“Paramedics from the Welsh Ambulance Service also attended and confirmed that the cyclist, a woman had died at the scene.
“She can be named as Rebecca Comins, 52, of Caldicot; her next of kin have been informed and are receiving support from specialist officers.
“A 47-year-old man from the Abergavenny area was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving and and has been released under investigation as enquiries continue.
“Anyone with information about the collision is asked to contact us.
“We’re asking for anyone who may have witnessed the collision or any motorists with dashcam footage that were using the A40 between 7pm and 7.30pm and between Abergavenny and Raglan to contact us.
“You can call us on 101 or send us a direct message on Facebook or Twitter, quoting log reference 2200184652 with any details. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
One person who responded to the Gwent Police post about the accident on Thursday June 2 said: “Time trials are run weekly in the summer on that road and full safety assessments are carried out.”
A poster who described himself as a retired policeman said he passed the racing cyclists around 7pm, and there were “warning signs placed at the start of the dual carriageway”.
“Bikes were well lit and very clearly visible for up to a mile even in broad daylight, due to the bright flashing rear lights…”
He had seen them “keep to the nearside of the lane about a metre from the white line showing the edge of the carriageway.
“On the whole nine-mile length of the road I saw no more than six riders and all traffic was moving into the right hand lane very responsibly so as not to endanger the riders…
“They were not ignoring traffic rules and were not causing any problems for other road users… none were riding abreast.”
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