Rider killed in Portland race

The Oregon (USA) cycling community has been plunged into mourning with the news that a 28 year-old cyclist has been killed after crashing inside the final 300 metres of a race at Portland International Raceway. Charles Christiansen, 28, was on the last lap of the 40 mile Tuesday night event when he lost control, hitting his head on a steel and concrete barrier post on the side of the motorcar race track.

Christiansen was wearing a helmet at the time but this proved ineffective at absorbing the impact. Officials with the Portland Fire Bureau said that he probably died straight away.

Race organizer Jeff Mitchem told AP that the rider was moving up in a group sprinting for the finish line when he veered off course, crashing into the barrier.

"As soon as he hit it, the sound was such that we knew it was serious," said Mitchem. He said that medical personnel reached the rider seconds later but were unable to save him. The fatality is the first during a cycling race since a rider was hit by a car in the early 1980s.

Cyclingnews would like to extend its condolences to Charles Christiansen's family, friends and racing colleagues.

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