AUSTRALIAN cycling is mourning the death of former professional and national champion Jonathan Cantwell at the age of 36.
The two-time Herald Sun Tour stage winner, who also rode the Tour de France in 2012, passed away overnight on Tuesday, prompting a string of tributes from some of the country’s top riders including Anna Meares.
Cantwell retired from professional cycling in 2014 when he was riding with Australian pro continental team Drapac as a road sprinter. That year he rode the Tour Down Under, Herald Sun Tour and raced in Asia and the US.
Prior to that he had spent two seasons on the WorldTour with Saxo-Tinkoff and in 2011 was the Australian criterium national champion.
After finishing cycling Cantwell turned to triathlon and represented Australia at the age group world championships on the Gold Coast in September.
Last year Cantwell revealed he had undergone successful surgery and chemotherapy for testicular cancer.
He had also worked as chief executive with bicycle manufacturer Swift Carbon Australia post professional cycling.
Anna Meares paid tribute to the fellow Queenslander online as news of Cantwell’s death emerged.
“My heart aches heavy to learn that Jonathan Cantwell has died. Love and thoughts with his family and friends and indeed community.”
Organisers at the Tour Down Under tweeted: “Our thoughts go out to the family, friends and team mates of Jonathan Cantwell during this difficult time”.
Former Aussie professional turned cycling commentator David McKenzie added: “Jonathan Cantwell you will be missed dearly, you leave us way too young. RIP”, while legendary Tour de France commentator Paul Sherwen wrote: “Very sad news from Australia – Jonathan Cantwell RIP – gone too young. Condolences to his family”.
Cycling Australia was yet to make comment or release a statement on Wednesday night.