The wife of a former Olympic sailor and experienced cyclist who had pedalled more than 43,000 miles ‘could not fathom’ how he came to die on an Oxfordshire road.

Camilla Richardson’s last words to her husband, Simon, before he set off from the family home in Windlesham, Surrey, on April 4, 2021, were ‘I’m going to go and ride my back in a circle’.

“I replied ‘be careful’. He said: ‘That’s my middle name,’” she said in a statement read to Oxford Coroner’s Court yesterday.

Mr Richardson, a 58-year-old sales manager for cycle clothing brand Endura, never made it home for his wife’s birthday the following day – and for which they’d earlier collected a cake from the baker.

READ MORE: Tributes to cyclist killed in Henley accident

He died in a crash on the A4155 Marlow Road, just outside Henley-on-Thames, after 2.25pm.

Oxford Mail:

Simon Richardson Picture: FAMILY/TVP

Katrina Fox, the passenger in a Toyota Yaris driven by her partner David Pratt, claimed she had seen Mr Richardson reaching for his water bottle then veer towards the ditch after they passed him.

Both Ms Fox and Mr Pratt came under close questioning from the Richardson family’s barrister, Martin Porter QC.

He suggested to the driver that the tragedy had happened as a result of ‘one of two possibilities’: “Either there is contact between your vehicle and Mr Richardson – I know you deny it – or, albeit you deny it, you were so close to him he had to take avoiding action and came off the road.”

Mr Pratt, whose said his near side wing mirror glass had come out a week earlier and had not been replaced, replied: “I don’t believe either of those things happened.” He earlier said he’d crossed onto the opposite side of the road to pass Mr Richardson’s bike safely.

Police crash investigator Luke Webb said there was no evidence to suggest that Mr Richardson was struck by the car.

He suffered multiple injuries, including bleeding in the chest cavity and broken ribs. He died at the scene.

Mr Richardson’s wife, Camilla, said her husband had cycled across Europe and taken part in some of the hardest bike races on the continent, during which he ‘never once had a fall’.

Oxford Mail:

Marlow Road, near Henley Picture: GOOGLE

As a family, they had ‘so many questions’. “We cannot fathom how he could have had an accident on a flat, straight road.”

The cyclist’s former boss, Endura founder Jim McFarlane, rubbished the suggestion Mr Richardson lost control of the bike as he reached for his bottle as ‘not credible’.

In a narrative conclusion, assistant coroner Joanna Coleman said: “It is possible that Simon became distracted and lost control whilst drinking from his water bottle or riding through a divot in the road but this is not clear.”

Oxford Mail:

Oxford Coroner's Court Picture: OM

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