The extreme heat across Europe last week broke all-time records and spread into Italy on Sunday, claiming the life of a 47 year-old amateur cyclist participating in 12th Gran Fondo Edita Pucinscaite just north of Florence.

Christian Brusco reportedly suffered a serious heat related illness and fell off his bike while climbing a strenuous section of road in the Pistoia Mountains between San Marcello and Piteglio around 10:30. Other riders stopped to assist the felled rider and a race ambulance arrived within a minute. Despite the promptness of the rescue, extreme intervention from ambulance technicians and the arrival of a medical evacuation helicopter, all measures were in vain and the rider died at the scene.

The organizers immediately cancelled the event out of concern for rider safety and made the following announcement, “It is with extreme sadness and pain – we read – that Avis Bike Pistoia must communicate the death, which occurred due to illness, of its own participant in the GF Edita Pucinskaite. At this hard and difficult time, which we never wanted to face, all the advice and partners gather around his family.”

Brusco, who was riding the medio fondo route of 86 kilometers was an experienced amateur cyclist who trained regularly and participated in gran fondo events on the Italian amateur circuit.

With over 600 participants the event took place in temperatures of 35C (95F) and humidity levels at 50%, creating a heat index of 41C (105F) on three routes of 62, 86 and 130 kilometers, all starting and finishing in Pistoia.

Other amateur cycling events in Europe over the weekend, including the 11,000 rider Quebrantahuesos in Spain, decided not go forward as planned and were cancelled due to the heatwave.

Photos: stock