Sassone passes away

NOUMEA: Former French professional rider Robert Sassone, the world track champion in 2001, has died at the age of 37 years, the president of the New Caledonia cycling committee told local radio RRB on Friday. Born in Noumea, Sassone, who had battled cancer for several years, took his own life, according to cyclingsources in the French Overseas Territory in the south Pacific Ocean. "We're very affected by his death...  It's a real pity, it's a great champion who leaves us," New Caledonia cycling chief Gerard Salaun told RRB. Sassone raced for Cofidis from 2000-2003, and won 2001 Worlds in the Madison event. He also won silver in the scratch at the 2003 Worlds and competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.