As the world of movies mourn the loss of renowned actor Robin Williams, the cycling community also suffers grief in his passing.
Off screen, Williams was a huge cycling enthusiast who once said he had so many bikes that he lost count. He was an enthusiastic follower of the professional cycling scene and was close friends with pros including five-time Tour de France winner Eddy Merckx and especially Lance Armstrong.
It appears Williams became interested in the sport after being inspired by Armstrong. Williams has always publicly supported Armstrong’s career and causes. Williams was a regular supporter on the Tour de France and would always be seen among the crowds, showing up in the Champs-Élysées stages and cheering for Armstrong. In 2002, he even went cycling with Armstrong and the US postal Team on an off day from the tour. Williams also took part in charity events organized by Armstrong’s foundation, like the Ride for the Roses charity event in Texas.
Williams was among those who was most affected when Armstrong admitted to using performance enhancing drugs in 2012 and was therefore stripped of his seven Tour de France wins. Their friendship was strained since Williams had been a staunch defender of Armstrong before his admission.
In an interview with Parade in September 2013, Williams said: “It wasn’t just Lance. [Most of the] team was doping. I haven’t seen him since one of the last Livestrong benefits, I think just before the Oprah interview. It was literally like a wake for someone who was still alive, this overall feeling that the dream was over.”
In light of his passing, the cycling community also took to social media to post their send off for Williams.
"RIP Robin. I will always remember you as one hell of a friend. I love you and will miss you terribly," Armstrong tweeted.
RIP Robin. I will always remember you as one hell of a friend. I love you and will miss you terribly.
— Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong) August 11, 2014
The British based Team Sky, the sport leader in recent years, whose impressive line-up includes, Tour de France winners Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome, has also sent their tribute. “#RIPRobinWilliams. Thanks for the laughs, we were honoured to have your support. Our thoughts go to family & friends. — Team Sky”
— Team Sky (@TeamSky) August 12, 2014
Image via YouTube