Promising Quebec City physician dies on cycling trip in Vermont

Carolyne Delage, a 30-year-old oncologist and hematologist from Quebec City, died after crashing her bicycle into a tree on a a steep, winding road in upstate Vermont, leaving the city's medical community in a state of shock.

Cycling 'was her passion,' says friend of Carolyne Delage, who died days short of her 31st birthday

This photo of Dr. Carolyne Delage was taken the same day she was killed cycling down Lincoln Gap Road in Vermont. (Submitted by Étienne Roy)

A young Quebec doctor who was killed in a cycling accident in Vermont last Saturday is being remembered as a "passionate, exceptional" woman who dedicated her life to helping others.

Carolyne Delage was cycling with a friend on Lincoln Gap Road, a steep, winding road 65 kilometres south of Burlington.

The road is described on the cycling website as "one of the hardest climbing trails to be found in the nation with a 16% grade that lasts for at least a mile."

Vermont State Police said Delage, 30, lost control and hit a tree. She was pronounced dead by ambulance workers on the way to hospital.

Étienne Roy, a friend who was cycling with Delage on Saturday, told CBC in an e-mail they were only three kilometres from their car when the accident occurred.

"We had four or five minutes left to go," he said.

Dr. Gabrielle Lafrenière said her friend's death has shocked "people across the medical community," describing Delage as "an exceptional doctor, an exceptional researcher."

The Quebec Medical Association expressed its condolences to her family and loved ones in a tweet on Tuesday, as news of Delage's death started circulating.

"She was always dynamic, always optimistic and had 1,000 things on the go at the same time," said Lafrenière.

Training to treat rare forms of cancer

The friends first met in third grade and studied side by side for years, obtaining their medical diplomas from Laval University. 
Delage's cycling partner Étienne Roy told CBC the two of them were just a few kilometres from the end of their ride when the 30-year-old physician crashed into a tree. (Submitted by Étienne Roy)

Delage specialized in oncology and hematology, the same field as that of her father, Dr. Robert Delage.

She was working in Rochester, N.Y., pursuing specialized training for cancers such as lymphoma, said Lafrenière.

"The whole community is in a state of shock," she said. Delage was expected to return to Quebec on July 7 to celebrate her 31st birthday.

Lafrenière said cycling "was her passion" and considered her friend to be very prudent.

Vermont police are investigating what may have caused the accident.

With files from Cathy Senay