Arlington, MA Professional Bicycle Racer Killed, Sep 2000
BICYCLIST KILLED DURING RACE.
Boston (AP) - The professional bicycle racing world lost a promising star when NICOLE REINHART crashed near the finish of a road race.
REINHART, a two-time U.S. National Track bicycle racing champion, died Sunday when she was thrown from her bicycle and struck a tree during a race in suburban Arlington.
REINHART, 24, of Mertztown, Pa., was in the final 3.5-mile lap of the BMC Tour of Arlington when the accident occurred just before 1 p.m.
The race was the final event of the 17-race Saturn Professional Tour, which REINHART, the heavy favorite, was leading. A fall earlier in the race had left her more than a minute behind, but she was in seventh place at the start of the final lap.
"This cuts very deep through the whole cycling family," said Philip Milburn, the chief operating officer of USA Cycling, the sport's national and Olympic governing body.
"The accident remains under investigation," said Arlington police chief Frederick Ryan. "We do have film footage we will use to make our investigation."
Race organizer Shawn McBride said a videotape showed that REINHART, racing in the lead pack, was squeezed by other riders just before a turn.
"There were too many riders and too little space," McBride said.
REINHART was taken to Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, where she was pronounced dead at 1:27 p.m. Her parents, Pam and Michael Reinhart of Macungie, Pa., were in Arlington to watch the race, and rode in the ambulance to the hospital.
Canadian Sandy Espeth, a member of REINHART'S team and also involved in the crash, was treated at Lahey Clinic Medical Center in Burlington
for a neck injury, and released.
The men's race, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., was canceled out of respect for REINHART.
At the Olympic velodrome in Sydney, U.S. team officials didn't tell two of REINHART'S friends from Pennsylvania, Marty Nothstein and Tanya Lindenmuth, until they had competed in qualifying races Monday morning (Sunday night EDT).
"It's so sad and tragic when anyone dies in a bike race," said Sean Petty, director of the U.S. Olympic team. "NICOLE raced with us and knew so many of the Olympic team members. It really hit all of us very hard."
A competitive rider since age 12, REINHART won nine U.S. National Junior Championship titles. She first excelled as a track racer and won two U.S. National Track titles in 1997.
REINHART had won the previous three races in this year's four-event BMC Software Grand Prix, a road-racing event. She would have received a $250,000 bonus if she had won Sunday's race.
The money will instead be used to establish a foundation in her memory, McBride said.
"She was one of the top five to 10 cyclists in the country," McBride said.
REINHART did not qualify for the U.S. Olympic team.
"NICOLE was on a mission to win the race today, and that was pretty much the way she lived her life, to do great things in cycling and beyond," said Saturn cycling team president Tom Schuler in a prepared statement. "... NICOLE represented to the Saturn team and her teammates an immense amount of pride, determination and class, for which she always will be remembered, and she forever will be a member of the Saturn cycling team."
REINHART was the second cyclist to die in three days in Massachusetts.
In Mendon Friday, Vincent Sterlacci, 51, of Haworth, N.J., a participant in the Boston-to-New York AIDS ride, died when he suffered a suspected heart attack and swerved into the path of a motorcycle.
Tyrone Daily Herald Pennsylvania 2000-09-18