Brunswick Cycling Club
- Damion Drapac, son of cycling team owner and sponsor Michael Drapac, was killed in a car-bike crash late last week.
- A driver struck Drapac, 30, as he rode to a bike race near Melbourne, Australia.
- Drapac, who had been expecting his first child, only recently returned to cycling after leaving the sport for a medical career.
Damion Drapac found early success in cycling. The son of high-profile team owner and sponsor Michael Drapac, he rode at the Continental level in his native Australia and racked up a series of podium finishes before leaving the sport to pursue a career in medicine. Last year, the 30-year-old, who went by the nickname “Duda,” returned to racing as an amateur, joining events for the love of the competition.
But all that was tragically cut short late last week, when a driver struck and killed Drapac as he rode his bike to a race.
Drapac had been en route to the Anzac Day Classic, a road race near Melbourne, Australia, on Thursday afternoon. According to reports, the driver had been traveling in the opposite direction and struck Drapac head-on. Police are investigating what caused the crash, and the unidentified driver is reportedly cooperating.
Drapac died at the scene, though his identity was not revealed until Saturday, when his father’s Drapac Cannondale Holistic Development Team confirmed his death.
“It is with immense sadness that we confirm the news that Damion Drapac, son of team owner, Michael Drapac, passed away on Thursday the 25th of April from injuries sustained in a collision with a vehicle, whilst riding his bike,” a team statement read. “We cannot explain the heartache felt by both the Drapac family and the wider cycling community.”
Drapac’s father also shared a statement on his son’s rekindled love of racing, his work as a doctor and small-business owner (he bought and sold vintage bicycles and parts), and his devotion to his partner Mariko, with whom he was expecting his first child.
“Duda had become a complete person,” Michael Drapac wrote. “He had touched many lives, but I can’t even imagine how many lives he was yet to touch had he lived.
The Brunswick Cycling Club shared photos of Damion Drapac through the years:
“He was my son,” Michael continued. “He was an extraordinary brother. He was a devoted partner. He was to be a father. He loved his family. We can never forget this extraordinary man. I loved him with all my heart.”
Damion had been a member of the Brunswick Cycling Club since 1996, when he was eight years old. “He was a very good cyclist, who only recently decided to return to racing,” read a statement on the club’s website. “Fitting training into a busy schedule, he worked his way back to elite-A grade level with numerous wins and podiums, the most recent a 2nd in the Hawthorn CC Good Friday Crits. In that race he was beaten on the line, and there were many international-class riders behind him.”
Adam Phelan, an alumnus of the Drapac Cannondale team, posted his own tribute. “Australia and the whole cycling community has lost a truly inspirational person,” Phelan wrote. “A cyclist, a businessman, a doctor, and a whole lot more.”
Drapac’s racing career began in 2006, his first of four years with Drapac–Porsche, an Australian Continental team that later became Drapac Cannondale. After a nearly 10-year break from competitive cycling, he returned to the peloton in November. His training on Strava showed rapid progression: Only days before his passing, his last ride logged 70 miles with more than 20 PRs.
Michael Drapac wrote that despite his busy life as a doctor, Damion “with only two months of training came second overall in the support races at the Bay crits… By March he had clearly returned to a quasi-elite level, having won over 10 races and innumerable seconds.”
But it was Drapac’s contributions outside of cycling, and his passion for life, that fellow riders remembered the most.
“Whilst cycling is dear to all our hearts, we remember Damion above all as a genuine human being, a valuable member of society who led a worthy life contributing to the sport, his club, and to making the world a better place,” the Brunswick Cycling Club said. “He also had a deep sense of justice, was fiercely loyal and generous.”
Since Damion’s death, Michael Drapac—whose development team serves as a feeder for EF Education First, the UCI WorldTeam he sponsored until the end of last year—has publicly called for more bike lanes and stronger road laws in Australia, saying that they “would save lives in this country.” He also asked for a “change of attitude” from drivers to be more aware and respectful toward cyclists.