by Mark Zalewski, North American Editor
The 37th annual edition of Superweek has been darkened by the death of Aaron Bieberitz in the final road race of the seventeen day series. Biebertz, 31, of Sheboygan, Wisconsin was competing in the category 4/5 men's race of the Tour of Holy Hill in Hartford, Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin State Patrol, Biebertz was riding alone east on Highway E, part of the race course, when a pickup truck towing a trailer southbound on Highway CC stopped at a stop sign intersecting Highway E. The pickup proceeded into the intersection in front of Biebertz where the collision occurred.
The driver, Timothy McQuiston of Hartford, immediately stopped and cyclists following behind alerted race organisers. Biebertz was flown to to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin where he later died from internal injuries.
This is the first fatality in the Superweek series, which consists of road races and criteriums. Race founder and director Otto Wenz told Cyclingnews that this race course has been used by organisers since the 1970s. "It is so upsetting," said Wenz. "It's a situation where everyone was away from him. He was by himself and that is the real sad part."
Racing did continue according to Wenz as the status of Biebertz was uncertain for the rest of the day and into the night, "We finished that day - we hadn't heard anything more." Once news of Biebertz's passing reached organisers an announcement was made.
"We feel we lost a member of the Superweek family - it's a tragedy and we feel for the family," said Superweek Director of Operations Andy Garrison.
Other local media have reported that this was the second fatal accident at a Superweek race. However, according to Garrison, this is the first fatality in its 37 year history. The Carl Zach Cycling Classic, which is a part of Superweek, memorialises a local racer who died at a race a week before Superweek in 2000. "That was a race a week before Superweek that year, and he would have ridden in our race too," said Garrison.
Garrison told Cyclingnews that the race does everything possible to keep riders safe. "In my opinion we have some of the best safety measures in the country. We have our own paramedic and doctor and they were on the scene. Safety is a major importance to Superweek."
"In this race it was a rolling enclosure," said Garrison. "If you are off the field you are a normal bike rider on the road and you have to obey all the traffic rules." The driver of the truck was cited for failure to yield the right-of-way from a stop sign, but no criminal charges were filed in the incident, according to the State Patrol.
No memorial information memorial was available, but Cyclingnews extends its condolences to the friends and family.
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