String of accidents shake cycling communities

Several accidents, some with fatal outcome, shook cycling communities all over the world in the last...

Several accidents, some with fatal outcome, shook cycling communities all over the world in the last couple of days.

In Arizona, a group of ten riders was hit during El Tour de Tucson, leaving two riders critically injured. The motorist initially fled the scene, but later turned himself in to police custody. The motorist was making a left turn in front of the cyclists.

Gary Stueber was transferred to a hospital in Phoenix. He underwent an initial surgery to remove swelling and damaged brain tissue, but he remains in a coma. Other surgeries are likely to follow.

A medical fund has been established at Bank of America under "Gary Stueber Medical Fund."

Contra Costa fatality

In California, a member of the Wells Fargo racing team/Contra Coast Cycling Club, was killed by an oncoming vehicle that apparently had crossed over the centre line. Mark Pendleton, 49, of Martinez was an avid cyclist who was returning home on the two-lane road from a training ride. Darkness had already fallen and Pendleton was not using lights or reflectors at the time of the accident. He died at the scene.

The motorist fled the scene. From debris found at the scene, officers said the car that hit Pendleton may have been dark in colour, and the crash apparently broke a headlight or turn signal. Anyone with information should call the CHP at +1 925 646-4980.

His friend John Elliott recalled Pendleton as a trim, athletic man who took his cycling seriously. He was always in training, and he ordered his morning bagel without butter or spreads and his club sandwiches without mayonnaise.

Pendleton took up cycling to spend time with his younger son, John Mark, whose doctor recommended bicycling following a knee injury. With his older son, Paul, the three would compete in local amateur races.

Earlier this year, he began riding with his wife, Denise. She took a liking to the sport after picking out a heavy yellow beach cruiser - the opposite of her husband's sleek road bikes. But, she recalled, he didn't care what kind of bike she rode, or how fast she rode it. "He'd pick out flat routes and stay right with me, the whole time," she said. "He'd never leave my side." Pendleton is survived by his wife and his sons. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Vuelta de Higuito fatality

Wilmar Henao, coach of the Colombian cycling team that is currently riding in Costa Rica's Vuelta de Higuito, was struck by a car and died of the injuries.

Henao went out for a ride in the morning before stage five, to get some exercise. The Colombian team was in the hotel Casa Conde and did suspect anything until they were informed by the police.

The race continued and Colombian John Darwin Atapuma won the stage and moved to second place overall. But it was not clear if the squad would continue to race.

Cyclingnews extends its sincere condolences to friends and families of the fatal accident victims.

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