Police vehicle hits cyclists in California, kills two

Kristy Gough (Third Pillar Racing) after winning

Kristy Gough (Third Pillar Racing) after winning (Image credit: Larry Rosa)

Mark Zalewski, North American Editor

Three cyclists descending down a winding road on a training ride Sunday morning near Cupertino, California were struck by a Santa Clara County sheriff's patrol vehicle that had crossed the centreline while travelling in the opposite direction. Two of the cyclists, identified as Matt Peterson, 30, of San Francisco, and Kristy Gough, 31, of Oakland, died from their injuries - Peterson on the scene and Gough hours later after being airlifted to Stanford University Medical Center.

Two other cyclists were riding with Peterson and Gough at the time of the accident. Reports said Christopher Knapp of Germany was also seriously injured, while the fourth was not hurt and not identified. Knapp was most recently listed in stable condition.

The two riders who were killed had just seen success on the California road racing circuit, most recently at the Merco Cycling Classic. Kristy Gough (Third Pillar Racing) won the category 3/4 women's road race and Matt Peterson (Roaring Mouse Cycles) won the men's category four criterium and wore the race leader's jersey during the category 4 road race.

Gough was new to racing on the road but not new to cycling by any means. She was an accomplished triathlete, including a third place finish at the 2006 UK Ironman. Jon Orban of her Third Pillar Racing team said she was a unique combination of utter talent and pure selflessness. "She was always giving to other people, but would absolutely crush everyone on the bike," Orban told Cyclingnews. "In the Snelling Road Race, she had gone out solo and had a huge gap after the first lap but felt bad about the other girls so slowed up and only won by like 12 minutes!"

"I have never, ever seen any woman have her ability. And she was just getting started in road racing three months ago! We were climbing a well-known climb out here, Old La Honda, and she was doing it faster than the elite guys on the Safeway team! Kristy was a world-class athlete but had no ego whatsoever. She was literally so strong that all the other female teams had literally coordinated an attempt to beat her! It made her feel a little bad because she didn't want to have people riding against her, but I just told her that is racing."

"She just got her upgrade to category one after winning last weekend," Orban added. "There is only one race she didn't win this year. She was a machine but was always smiling."

To read the full news item, click here.

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