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Former Tour de France rider Walter Bénéteau dies at 50

Cycling world in shock following news of French athlete's passing

Walter Bénéteau riding Photo by: Sirotti

French former pro cyclist Walter Bénéteau has died, according to the Union Nationale des Cyclistes Professionels (UNCP), the governing body of pro cyclists in France. The organization tweeted the news on Sunday. “It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of our friend and former champion Walter Bénéteau at the age of 50. Sincere condolences to his family and loved ones. RIP Wawa.”

The popular pro died while in Bali, Indonesia, but the cause of death has not been determined.

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Bénéteau turned pro at the age of 28 after riding for the top amateur team, Vendée U for eight years.

He rode as a stagiaire for Castorma in 1995, and would later ride his professional career with the French team Bonjour, (later Brioche-la-Boulangere and Bouygues Telecom) participating in the Tour each year during his six-year career.

He finished every Tour he rode.

In 2001, he was second at the French national championships. In both 2001 and 2003, he won the Boucles de l’Aulne.