May 21, 2024

Teen Competitive Cyclist Dies After Being Hit by Car

Magnus White, a 17-year old “rising star” in competitive cycling, has died after being hit by a car in Colorado while he was training for the world championships, state police and U.S.A. Cycling, the sport’s governing body, said.

White excelled in cyclocross, an international sport in which racers compete on a course of multiple surfaces, including pavement and trails, and carry their bicycles over off-road obstacles. He was a junior member of U.S.A. Cycling, the Colorado Springs organization said.

White was struck by a car on Saturday in Boulder County, which has a population of about 320,000 people and is in the north-central part of the state known for its rugged mountains, foothills, trails and the University of Colorado campus in Boulder.

White was on a north-south stretch of Highway 119 known as the Diagonal, which runs between Boulder and Longmont. It is so frequently used by cyclists that local and state authorities are working on a long-term plan to add a separate bike trail in the middle of it.

At about 12:30 p.m., White was riding his endurance road bicycle southbound on the shoulder of the highway when a Toyota Matrix struck him from behind, ejecting him from the bicycle, Trooper Gabriel Moltrer, a public information officer for the Colorado State Patrol, said on Monday. White was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Mr. Moltrer said.

There was no indication that drugs, alcohol or excessive speed were involved, and the driver was not injured in the accident, which took place northeast of Boulder, Mr. Moltrer said.

White was a junior member of the 2023 Cyclocross World Championship team, U.S.A. Cycling said. He was making final preparations before leaving for Glasgow, Scotland, to compete in the Junior Men’s Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Championships on Aug. 10, it said.

“He was a rising star in the off-road cycling scene, and his passion for cycling was evident through his racing and camaraderie with his teammates and local community,” the organization said.

Cyclocross was invented about 100 years ago in Europe as an off-season training regimen for road-bike racers. Its appeal gained momentum in the United States in the early 2000s.

Most competitors modify their road bikes with knobby tires and other structural alterations to allow for better clearance as they navigate paved roads, hills, stairs and other obstacles during the race.

“Since the cyclocross season generally takes place from September to February, races are often times plagued with adverse weather conditions such as snow, rain, wind and mud — all of which add to the sport’s allure,” U.S.A. Cycling said.

White started cycling when he was eight, and the sport became his “greatest joy in life,” his family said in a statement. He received competitive training with Boulder Junior Cycling, which develops young athletes in the sport. White was spurred on by his Colorado childhood of cycling and skiing, he wrote on his website, and later developed into an ambitious athlete who was emerging on the international stage.

On his Instagram page, White described the rugged challenges of the sport, whether pushing through a muddy ride, battling food poisoning or overcoming a snapped chain during a race.

In 2021, White won the U.S.A. Cycling Cyclocross National Championships, and in 2022, he participated in his first world championship in Fayetteville, Ark., placing 25th in the junior division. In 2023, he competed in his second world championship in Hoogerheide, Netherlands, coming in 20th in the under 19 group.

“These global events provided me with a deeper understanding of the international dynamics of the sport and allowed me to measure myself against the world’s best riders,” White wrote.

White had described the upcoming mountain bike race championship in Scotland as a “new and exciting chapter of my cycling career.”

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