Ultracyclist Jure Robic died on Friday after being struck by a car while he was cycling on a forest road near his home in Jesenice, Slovenia.
Emergency medical personnel rushed to the scene, but Robic could not be revived, according to Brazilian website, Esportes.
The 45-year old was best known as the five-time winner of Race Across America (RAAM), a 3,000-mile, non-stop cycling race across the United States. He was also a father to six year old son, Nal and a member of the Slovenian Army until he was discharged in April for reaching the maximum age allowed for a soldier.
In addition to RAAM, Robic won scores of other cycling races, including Le Tour Direct in 2005, a non-stop race along the Tour de France route. He was considering racing RAAM as a member of a 4-person team in 2011.
"Jure was the greatest champion in the history of RAAM. He put his stamp on RAAM-The World's Toughest Bicycle Race," said Fred Boethling, President of RAAM. "There was nobody else like him. He set the standard for the event. Over the years my respect for him grew. I became increasingly close to him. Jure became a true friend."
Robic recently created a cycling jersey and friends hoped he would make and sell a line of Robic-branded cycling products to support himself as he trained and raced.
Matjaz Planinsek, Robic’s friend of 15 years and 2010 RAAM crew chief, wrote on Facebook, “[O]nly now, when he is gone, I'm fully aware of what he meant to me...”
Photo of Robic at the begning of RAAM 2010 courtesy of Jake North Photography.