Friends remember avid Jacksonville cyclist

Cyclist dies in 3-state event on Lookout Mountain, Tenn.

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville man who took part in a cycling competition on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee has died.

Chattanooga police said 49-year-old Antonio Ribeiro was riding downhill in an area where he had to make sharp left and right turns close together.

Ribeiro had lost control and went into the path of a car traveling uphill, spokesman Nathan Hartwig said. According to the Chattanooga Free Press, Ribeiro died at the scene.

Ribeiro (pictured, below) collided with the car around 400 Ochs Highway, about three miles from the event's finish line.

He spent most of his time in Jacksonville, at Duval Ford....where he was  Vehicle Sales Director.  He was promoted to the position three years ago...Monday his chair was empty.

Dan Hodges was his boss and friend.  He told Channel 4 "He influenced everyone around him. He was passionate about his work ..his biking..about his family.  We're still in a complete state of shock..anger,'s just surreal to think that he's not here."

First responders told WDEF-TV that prior to Ribeiro's fatal accident, a woman cyclist crashed into an ambulance that was called in to the aid another cyclist who had taken a nasty fall. She was hospitalized in serious condition.

Several members of law enforcement questioned why the event was allowed to take start when many other outdoor event were cancelled due to very poor weather conditions.

"It was raining and a lot of people turned around and went home and a lot of people didn't come and those that came took a risk so it's like anything in life when you take a risk. I feel terrible that it happened," said event participant Mark Lazinski of Roswell, Ga.

Duval Ford's facebook page is now dedicated to Ribeiro.  It features messages of love, prayers, and fond memories.  A loss as pronounced as his empty work space.

"This is a big part of our family that's gone," Hodges said.

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