The family of amateur cyclist Barry Covington who died of heat stroke at the UCI Gran Fondo World Championships is suing the organizer and cycling’s world governing body, Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), for £750,000.
Barry Covington, representing Great Britain, collapsed from heat stroke just before the finish of the 93 mile UCI Gran Fondo World Championship road race in the southern French city of Albi in 2017, where temperatures soared to over 93F and humidity reached 70% during the race.
The 36-year-old British competitor received immediate on-course emergency care and was then transferred to Rangueil Hospital in Toulouse, where his condition did not improve and he died a week later.
Barry’s partner, Paul Bowhay, and Thomas Covington, Barry’s father are now suing the UCI, claiming cycling’s world governing body did not appropriately safeguard competitors from the deadly risks of heat stroke.
The case is scheduled to be heard by London’s High Court in early 2024, but the UCI and its insurer, AXA France, are disputing the validity of the case, as well as the financial compensation claimed.
The court will hear from riders who took part in the race and how much water was available on-course, as well as testimony from medical experts in cycling and heat stroke prevention.
Winning the case could be quite challenging for Covington’s family, on social media the day before the race Covington seemingly acknowledge the potential risk of racing in the dangerous weather conditions, “It’s going to be tough riding in this heat, it’s 38C [100F] here today.”
In addition, Covington, like all amateur competitors in France, submitted a medical certificate at registration signed by a doctor indicating he was medically fit to participate in a competitive cycling race.
The day before the race, Barry Covington posted a Twitter photo of him standing under the start banner of the 2017 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships, which brought together 2500 amateur cyclists from 60 countries.
Photos: Barry Covington – Twitter