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Canadian neo-pro Ellen Watters (Colavita-Bianchi) passed away just five days after she was involved in a collision with a motor vehicle during a training session in Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada on December 23.
Cycling Canada alerted the media after the 28-year-old’s family issued a second statement via social media in as many days, this time to inform the public of her tragic death:
“It’s very difficult to find the right way to share news that is so important and so terrible for so many people. Ellen no longer had any brain function when the excellent and very kind doctors examined her this afternoon. She was surrounded by family, and so many dear friends, over the past few days, and has received more support than I could have imagined.
“Ellen was truly an awesome force. Everyone who knew Ellen was better off for it. She shared joy with everyone she knew, and took joy in sharing her love and positivity around her.
“Because of the manner of her passing, she is a candidate for organ donations. The silver lining of this tragic time is that she is able to bring hope and motivation to even more people.
“We hope that we can channel some of Ellen’s fantastic energy, and use it to improve the safety conditions for cyclists on our roadways.We would ask everyone to spread awareness of the necessity of cyclist advocacy, and to contact their local politicians to help get changes made.
“We will not be holding a memorial or funeral service at this time. We will be planning to do so later, when we have had a chance to process this tragedy, and can better celebrate her brilliant spirit and wonderful life. Please keep Ellen with you when you need someone to go for a quiet walk with, or to meet for a coffee, or to kick your butt and get you out for a ride. Please know that she’ll be there as much as you need her, just like she always has been.”
According to Cycling Canada, Watters had been on a steady rise through the ranks since joining the Ottawa-based Cyclery Racing Team in 2014 under the guidance of former national team member Jenny Trew.
The kinesiology graduate and former triathlete signed with US-based Colavita-Bianchi for 2017 after won the Tour of the Battenkill and Tour of Somerville in the U.S., and won bronze in the criterium at the Canadian Road Championships. The New Brunswick native also won a kermesse in Haasdonk, Belgium while riding for the first ever Canadian National Team project in August.
A GoFundMe page entitled “Love for Ellen” has been set up to help Watters’ family members with their expenses. Within a day of being launched, the fund has raised more than triple its $5,000 goal.
“All of us at Cycling Canada share in the grief so keenly felt by Ellen’s family and friends,” said Cycling Canada High Performance Director- Head Coach Jacques Landry. “We would like to extend our heartfelt sympathy and offer any support we can provide in the wake of this tragedy.”