The 29-year-old Kazakh rider – who finished fourth in the Tour de France in 2001 – died the day after a crash, near Saint-Etienne, on the second stage of the Paris-Nice road race. The race continues, although the Cofidis team led a go-slow tribute to their team leader today.
Kivilev is the first cyclist to die in competition since Spanish sprinter Manuel San Roma in the Tour de Catalunya in 1999. He leaves a six-month-old son, Leonard.
The Cifidis team’s sporting director, Francis Van Londerseele, said at a press conference: "We’re all shocked. We all regret [the fact] that Andrei was not wearing a helmet at the time of this fall."
Whether a helmet would have saved him is unclear: he landed on his face. Nevertheless, pro helmet campaigners will soon latch on to this sad episode.