SOLIHULL Cycling Club have been left in a state of shock following the sudden death of their top female rider Cath Ward.
The 52 year-old was struck by a car while competing in a 10 mile time trial near Bidford on Wednesday evening.
Warwickshire Police are appealing for witnesses to the collision and have arrested a 27 year old man on suspicion of causing death by careless driving.
He has since been released on police bail pending further enquiries.
The collision took place around 7-20pm on the A46 between Bidford and Oversley
Cath was taking part in Beacon Road CC’s 10 mile trial and was believed to have been the first rider away.
Apart from being a prolific cyclist, Cath was a former journalist and worked at Warwickshire Police HQ in Leek Wootton.
Tributes have been flooding in following her death.
Robin Fox, Vice-Chairman of Solihull Cycling Club said: “Solihull Cycling Club is extremely saddened to learn of the loss of one of its most prominent members. Cath Ward was a very popular member of the Club and she had made a lot of good friends through the sport of cycling.
“As a cyclist, she was one of the most improved members of 2010 and was the reigning women’s Club Time Trial Champion. She will be sadly missed by everyone at the Club and our deepest sympathy goes out to her family and closest friends.”
Cath had recently become one of the top female time trial competitors in the Midlands. Having only taken up cycle racing last year, aged 51, Cath appointed a professional training coach to help develop her technique, which was paying dividends throughout her 2010 season. She trained on the roads of Warwickshire and Solihull at least five days out of seven.
Only last week, Cath took another first place in a fiercely contested five mile time trial race organised by the Midlands Cycling and Athletics Club. The course - which was on home turf - commenced in Chadwick End and finished at Fen End. Cath’s time of 14 mins, 14 secs meant that she won comfortably out of the seven female competitors, with Chris Jones from the host club taking second place with a time of 14 mins, 51 secs.
Cath was a highly proficient rider and had even taught herself how to maintain her own road bikes. The majority of Cath’s holidays over recent years were to participate in cycling events, both through the UK and in Italy, Majorca and France.
Charlotte Crossley, Press Secretary for Solihull Cycling Club said: “Cath was a great friend and a true inspiration. We both joined the Club four years ago and have participated in cycle events together across the UK and holidayed at a cycle training hotel in Italy. Cath was very passionate about getting more females to take up road cycling, especially at a competitive level. She loved cycling around Warwickshire and Solihull and would train in all weathers. While being dedicated, committed and competitive, she was also incredibly witty and caring. This is a tragic loss and she will be so sorely missed.”
Solihull Cycling Club is one of the largest in the UK with 394 members.
Any witnesses to the incident are asked to contact Acting Inspector Adrian Davis on 01926 415415.