Tributes paid to Argoed cycling great, Stuart Coles
7:00am Thursday 15th August 2013 in News
TRIBUTES have been paid to a former professional cyclist who competed against cycling greats Greg LeMond and Stephen Roache before a crash ended his career aged 21.
Stuart Coles, of Argoed, Gwent, won a clutch of junior trophies then turned pro and took part in the World Cycling Championships in Belgium in 1988.
Mr Coles joined one of the best cycling sides in the UK, the Raleigh Banana team, and also came second in the Manchester - Birmingham leg of the Kellogg’s Tour of Great Britain in 1987.
But his career came to an abrupt end after his Ford Escort crashed outside Blackwood leaving him with a punctured lung, broken ribs and back problems in 1988.
The 46-year-old married dad died of a suspected heart attack in Phuket, Thailand, on June 6.
He had moved to the South East Asian country a decade ago, where he trained triathlon competitors.
Friends and relatives of Mr Coles will gather at Glyntaff Crematorium in Cemetery Road, Pontypridd, for a funeral service at 1.30pm this Friday.
His father Eric Coles, 68, of Hawthorn, Pontypridd, said: “I was proud of my son not just because of his cycling.
"Stuart was very gifted. He was a dedicated cyclist.
“He would say: ‘Every day you leave a bike alone somebody is catching up.'"
Cycling friend Bob Collins, 52, of Risca, said: “He was an amazing prospect.
“He was a good bloke. He had all the abilities, he could sprint, he could do mountains. He had all the attributes to be a good tour rider.”
Mr Coles was driving his car alone when he had the accident, which his father believes may have been caused by the poor quality of the road. No other vehicle was involved.
Eric Coles added: “He never ever seemed to recover. That was virtually the end of his career.
“The cycling world has gone mad on Facebook.
“People talk about him and say that he missed the best. He was still a young man.”
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