Steve Tilford racing in the Coors Classic. Photo:...

Cycling world mourns Steve Tilford’s death

Steve Tilford, a legend of American cycling, is dead at age 57, after a highway car crash in Utah, just west of Grand Junction, Colorado.

Four-time U.S. national cyclocross champion Steve Tilford died Wednesday morning after a car crash on interstate 70, west of Grand Junction, Colorado, according to an entry on his blog. Tilford’s friend Vincent Davis posted brief updates through the night following the crash.

“Its me again Vincent. Steve and I were in a bad car accident west of Grand Junction on I70 at about 12:15am. I am kinda ok in a hospital in Grand Junction. Steve is not good I do not wish to say more now. I will update when I have more specific facts. Please be patient

I am posting from my phone.

4:25am I (vincent) have a fractured sternum, that hurts, otherwise just sore.

6:12 Steve is dead. More later. I am flying back to Denver. Need to get to the airport now

According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, the crash was caused by an overturned semi-truck, which caused a chain-reaction crash. A driver of a second semi, which crashed into Tilford’s van, died at the scene due to injuries.

Tilford, 57, was known throughout the American cycling community and beyond as an evergreen talent, who won the inaugural U.S. mountain bike national championships and continued racing well into his 50s. “I’m riding way faster now than when I was winning nationals in the ‘80s!” he told VeloNews in 2006. “I’ve been asked that a lot in the last three years, and to be honest I think it’s a lack of brain cells. It used to be when I was in pain, like physically in pain, I was just done. And now when I’m done it’s not as painful as it was and I don’t know why! And, I’m like painful is good!”

Fans, friends, and fellow cyclists expressed their condolences on Twitter once the news was confirmed: