Social ride to pay tribute to Lowndes

Roger Vaughan

Jason Lowndes should have been competing on Wednesday night at the start of the Australian road cycling championships.

Instead, a social ride on Thursday morning will be charged with emotion as the sport struggles to cope with the tragic loss of a rising star.

Lowndes, 23, was killed three days before Christmas when he was hit by a car while training near Bendigo.

A minute's silence will be observed on Sunday before the starts of the women's and men's road races at the nationals.

The Thursday ride at 8.30am has also been organised to remember Lowndes.

It will feature a lap of the road race course and start on the main street at Buninyong.

Brenton Jones and Steele von Hoff, who were second and third on Wednesday night in the Australian criterium championship, counted Lowndes as a friend.

"It's tragic for the sport and a tough time for me as a teammate of mine for the last few seasons," Jones said.

"It's really sad. It's close to home."

Lowndes' death highlights the inherent dangers of life as a fulltime cyclist.

"It's pretty scary. A lot of other sports, you're safe on a court or you're safe in a field," Jones said.

"But riding a bike, your (safety) is in the hands of others, it's a dangerous sport."

Von Hoff said Lowndes' death had left him devastated.

"It's very upsetting. It shows, with the amount of people at his funeral, just how many he's lifted up during his life," von Hoff said.