Norwegian cyclist André Drege, 25, dies after crashing during Tour of Austria: 'It's really devastating'

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Norwegian cyclist André Drege, 25, died after crashing during Stage 4 of the Tour of Austria. The final stage originally scheduled for Sunday was replaced with a memorial ride that included his bike and racing number. 

The incident happened Saturday when cyclists were completing the 151.7 kilometer route from St. Johann Alpendorf to Kals. Drege crashed while descending the Grossglockner and suffered fatal injuries.

Filippo Ganna from Italy won Saturday’s Stage 4, but the podium ceremony was canceled.

“The memorial ride was the express wish of Andre’s father, his teammates and his entire team,” said Coop-Repsol, Drege’s team. It gives the entire cycling family the opportunity to come to terms with what happened and to honour Andre Drege’s memory.

Drege had been cycling since the age of 14. This year was proving to be a successful season for him with several wins, including two stages and the overall classification at Visit South Aegean Islands. He also won one stage and the overall classification at Tour of Rhodes.

Drege has been honored and talked about even in the middle of the Tour de France. Norway’s Johannes Kulset took a moment to speak about how well-liked Drege was in the cycling community.

“He’s a super nice guy,” Kulset said. “I’ve never heard a bad word about him. The fact that he is dead is just super sad. My prayers and thoughts really go to his family friends, loved ones and teammates.”

Tadej Pogacar from Slovenia currently holds the yellow jersey at the Tour de France — which he won in 2020 and 2021. However, he took the spotlight off himself for a minute to give the community a message.

“It’s really devastating … I must say I’m still a bit in shock right now. It’s just tough to process what happened,” Pogacar said. It’s really, really sad to hear this.

“We have a pretty cool job but it’s really dangerous … we really need to, all the cycling community and all the people doing bikes and racing, we need to be careful about each other and just take care of everybody around you to have a good time on the bike together.”

Drege is not the only recent tragedy of this nature. Swiss cyclist Gino Mäder died at the age of 26 last year after crashing during the Tour de Suisse.

Pogacar’s comments are a good reminder for those currently participating at the Tour de France. In the history of the event, four deaths have happened there during competition. Fortunately, the oldest of the Grand Tours has not seen a death since 24-year-old Fabio Casartelli in 1995, and so far no major incidents have occurred during the 111th edition of the event.

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