Coming on the heels of the loss of Steve Tilford and the more distant tragedy of Michele Scarponi's death, the US peloton is reeling from news that Axeon Hagens Berman's Chad Young is not expected to recover from injuries sustained in a crash at the Tour of the Gila.
The team issued a press release late Thursday saying that the 21-year-old suffered severe head injuries in the crash that came on a descent during the final "Gila Monster" stage – a course that has been beset by bad crashes over the years. Riders are regularly warned to take caution, but this crash happened on a section of the course that seemed relatively innocuous, rather than the steep, tight switchback from Pinos Altos that has taken out so many riders in the past.
Medical teams were quick to take action after the wreck, but despite their efforts, Young's condition is dire. His friends and competitors are struggling to come to terms with this reality.
Tom Petty, the manager of Mobius Future Racing, whose rider Peter Livingstone was caught up in the same crash, praised the quick work of the medics who arrived at the scene.
"The crash itself was really no different or remarkable to any other, a small bunch of riders came into the corner, it was a bit deceiving, they realised they'd misjudged it and in the correction, lost control and crashed. We don't feel the course or anyone particularly is at fault," Petty told Cyclingnews.
"The medics at the scene, especially Dr. Brian Robinson were excellent. They quickly assessed Chad, made a decision and went about getting him to helicopter landing spot. It's my opinion that he had the best response time at the scene."
Livingstone declined to speak about the incident, but Petty spoke on his behalf. "As for Pete, it simply doesn't feel fair, but we are very grateful he is still here. Pete was just one metre away from Chad where they eventually landed. To be able to have no broken bones and still here with us at Big Bear Lake in California is incredible.
"Something like this gets replayed over and over in your mind every day for Pete and it's quite traumatic for all of us. We wish we could do something to ease the pain of others involved.
"Everyone here at Mobius Future Racing is deeply upset by the news. This is everyone's worst news imaginable, to have a colleague, friend, son be involved in such an incident," Petty added.
Chad Young: A friend, a teammate, and an inspiration. A talent, a genius, but humble. An unforgettable smile, laugh, and personality. All the times we spent in the back of the team van laughing so hard we cried after pranking toby or joking with the guys. Teaching me so much about riding bikes, hard work, and how to be an exemplary person. The many many hours spent facetiming once we both left New England for school. While I truly have no words for this loss, I could write volumes and volumes about Chad. Love you forever Buddy #BeLikeChad
It makes you realize how much we put into this sport, collectively. It also makes you realize how much it can take from you. #BeLikeChad— Ben Ryan (@Ben_Ryan113) April 28, 2017