Movistar rider Tondo killed in car incident

BARCELONA Mon May 23, 2011 4:42pm BST

Movistar's Xavier Tondo of Spain speaks to his team director Jose Luis Arrieta during the 189,5 km sixth stage of the Tour of Catalunya cycling race in Mollet near Barcelona March 26, 2011. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

Movistar's Xavier Tondo of Spain speaks to his team director Jose Luis Arrieta during the 189,5 km sixth stage of the Tour of Catalunya cycling race in Mollet near Barcelona March 26, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Gustau Nacarino

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BARCELONA (Reuters) - Spanish Movistar Team rider Xavier Tondo was killed on Monday when he was involved in an incident with a garage door on his way to training near Granada, his team said.

"The 32-year-old Catalan rider was in his car on the way to training when he suffered the incident with the door of the garage," the team said in a statement on their website (www.movistarteam.com).

More information would be published when it became available, the statement added.

Tondo had an impressive 2010 season, winning a stage on the Paris-Nice race and finishing sixth in the Tour of Spain. He won the 2011 Tour of Castilla and Leon.

Earlier this year, he blew the whistle on a doping ring when he alerted authorities after receiving emails in which he was offered banned substances.

Movistar said they would not withdraw their team from the Giro d'Italia, which resumes on Tuesday after a rest day.

"We decided the best thing to do would be to honour Xavi on the bike," team manager Eusebio Unzue said in a media release.

"The rest of the team will be with his relatives at the funeral but we're convinced Xavi would have liked us to keep on racing."

The Giro leader Alberto Contador, who rides for the Saxo Bank team, cancelled a news conference on Monday as a sign of respect after news of Tondo's death reached the race participants.

Contador, the Tour de France champion, offered his condolences to Tondo's family and said his compatriot had been "an incredible person" who had "loved the sport like no other."

"How unfair life can be and difficult to comprehend at times," Contador added on his Twitter feed.

(Additional reporting by Julien Pretot in Paris and Alasdair Fotheringham in Belluno, Italy)

(Reporting by Iain Rogers; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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