Police in Colorado have said that a pick-up truck driver involved in a crash in which professional mountain bike rider Benjamin Sonntag was killed was travelling at almost twice the speed limit before the collision.
German national Sonntag, who rode for the Clif Pro Team, was riding on county road 105 near Durango, where he had lived since 2007, when he was struck and killed by the pick-up truck being driven by 19-year-old Cordell Schneider.
According to the Durango Herald, an investigation by the Colorado State Patrol estimated that Schneider had been driving at 65mph in a 35mph zone and lost control of the vehicle before the collision, which saw Sonntag, who was pronounced dead at the scene, thrown around 25 yards through the air.
Schneider was treated at hospital for his own injuries, but it is unclear whether he will face any charges, although according to the collision investigation report, “vehicular homicide – [operating] a motor vehicle in a reckless manner which was the proximate cause of death of another” is one possibility.
Drugs and alcohol have been ruled out as possible contributory factors to the crash.
Sonntag’s girlfriend, Sarah Alsgaard, Sonntag’s girlfriend, said she met Tuesday met Assistant District Attorney David Ottman last week.
She said: “We feel pretty powerless. Being told the investigation is not completed yet is really disheartening for all of us as our worlds have been turned upside down.”
After Sonntag’s death, friend and rival Geoff Kabush said: “My heart is feeling pretty crushed right now.
“Ben was one of the really genuine and happy guys that I always enjoyed seeing and catching up with at events.
“We fought hard on the race course but he was someone that everyone, including myself, cheered for when he had success.
“Heartbreaking to think about not seeing ZeGerman's smile around anymore,” he added.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.