Het is vandaag al 45 jaar geleden dat de Australische amateur-wielrenner Graeme Jose in tragische omstandigheden om het leven kwam. Sedertdien worden er in zijn thuisland the Graeme Jose Spirit of Whyalla Awards toegekend. De winnaars van dit jaar waren: (bovenstaande foto, from left) runner-up Sinead Hollingworth-Hughes, winner Rachael Natar and runner-up Elouise Gregg.
Graeme Jose was an Australian cyclist, who competed in the individual road race and team time trial events at the 1972 Summer Olympics (29th in the individual race; 17th in the time trial). He was the 1973 South Australian pursuit champion.
After finishing the 1973 Peace Race in 44th on final GC, he was praised by Australian team manager Ron Webb for his gutsy performance in support of Don Allan.
The Aussie team then travelled to take part in the Tour of Austria, held from 15th June to 24th June 1973.
Graeme got an 8th place on the first stage from Vienna to Linz over 174km with Don Allan getting 3rd.
The fatal 5th stage on Tuesday the 19th of June was from Innsbruck to Feldkirch over 162km. On the western descent of the Arlberg Pass, just before the town of Stuben, Vorarlberg, there are parts of the descent where riders can ride at pretty much top speed, but just before the town of Stuben there is a series of hairpins. It is believed that Graeme misjudged his speed and had to ride into an escape road where he crashed at full speed into a parked lorry. Sustaining serious head injuries, he was taken unconscious to the hospital in Feldkirch, about 45 km from where the accident occurred. He underwent surgery but never regained consciousness and sadly died in Feldkirch hospital at 13:30 on Saturday the 23rd of June.
The Tour of Austria finished in Vienna the next day, Sunday the 24th of June, with Don Allan winning the stage. Don Allan said he won it for Graeme Jose whom he described as a really gentle guy and a very good rider.
As a result of Graeme’s death , the senior doctor at Feldkirch hospital, Dr Erich Amann , recommended that all amateur cyclists in Austria should wear crash helmets, the Austrian authorities followed his recommendation and, from 1974, all amateur competitors in Austrian cycle races were obliged to wear a crash helmet.