Irish cycling is in shock following the news that Paul Healion, who was due to compete as part of the seven-man national team in this week's Tour of Ireland, was killed in a car accident last night.

The 31-year-old from Dunboyne, Co Meath, was driving alone and crashed near Ardee, County Louth. The cause of the accident is not yet known.

Healion was having his best season to date, taking a number of important results including his first ever stage victory in the FBD Insurance Rás in May as well as the national criterium championships in June.

He was also part of the Irish team pursuit squad that finished fifth and set a new national record of 4 minutes 11.587 seconds in the Copenhagen Track World Cup in February.

He was due to compete in the Tour of Ireland alongside David McCann, Sean Downey, Philip Lavery, Paul Griffin, Martyn Irvine and Sam Bennett, who was the other Irish stage winner in this year's Rás.