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Racer killed during Utah mountain bike race

By Jason Sumner, VeloNews associate editor

An Albuquerque man was killed during the Tour of Canyonlands cross-country mountain-bike race near Moab, Utah, on Sunday.

The Grand County sheriff’s department identified him as 33-year-old Samuel Hall. Authorities say he died when he collided with a Ford Excursion sport-utility vehicle that was towing a trailer. Officers say the accident caused a pile-up with other bicyclists. Hall died at the scene.

Also injured was Robert Milne, 22, from Murray, Utah. He was airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado, with a possible broken arm and a possible broken clavicle.

According to Patrick West, a race competitor from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the accident happened about 25 minutes into the race.

“As the pack split up near the start, we broke into several groups racing down Kane Creek Road towards the base of the Harrah Pass climb,” West said. “As I approached one of the trailing groups, a truck towing a large trailer was approaching and the riders in the group in front of me were too close to the center of the road, hit the mirror of the truck, and two fell into the path of the towed camper.

Several witnesses said that the truck was traveling in excess of reasonable speed. West said, “It all happened so fast it was hard to say how fast he was traveling.”

“I really don’t think the truck was in the middle of the road,” West added. “If anything, if there had been a yellow line maybe both the truck and the riders were right on top of it. The first [racer] actually dodged [the truck], but then the second guy hit the mirror and that caused another guy to hit him.”

West added that while he could not recall if racers were warned about the road being open, it was clear the road was open.

“We had passed a few other cars before that,” he said, “so it was obvious that the road was open. There wasn’t anyone out there controlling traffic.”

The Tour of Canyonlands was the first event in the 10-race Mountain States Cup series, which is contested in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.