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Top American cyclist Magnus White, 17, dies after being hit by a car

Magnus White, a 17-year old on the U.S. national cycling team, was killed Saturday while biking in Boulder, Colo. He is seen here competing at the Cyclocross World Championships in January in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands.
USA Cycling
Magnus White, a 17-year old on the U.S. national cycling team, was killed Saturday while biking in Boulder, Colo. He is seen here competing at the Cyclocross World Championships in January in Hoogerheide, the Netherlands.

Updated July 31, 2023 at 5:05 PM ET

A rising star in American cycling, 17-year-old Magnus White, has died after a driver hit him while he was cycling on the shoulder of a highway in his hometown of Boulder, Colo.

White had been preparing to head to Glasgow, Scotland, to compete in the Junior Men's Mountain Bike Cross-Country World Championships next week.

A member of USA Cycling's junior men's national team, White won the 2021 USA Cyclocross Junior Men's National Championship. He represented the U.S. in his first cyclocross world championship last year in Fayetteville, Ark., and competed in his second earlier this year in the Netherlands. (USA Cycling describes cyclocross as a combination of "road cycling, mountain biking and steeplechase.")

"Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the tragic loss of our beloved son, Magnus White," his parents Michael and Jill White said in a statement Monday.

"Magnus was dedicated to his family and friends and loved to surround them with laughter. He had an amazing smile that always lit up the room, bringing joy to those around him."

White's passion for cycling started at the age of two on a strider bike, they said, and he began racing at age 8. He grew up in Boulder and trained with Boulder Junior Cycling. He was also an avid skier and a committed student who aspired to attend business school, according to his website. He planned to graduate from high school a semester early so he could focus on international competition in spring 2024.

In addition to his parents, White is survived by his brother Eero. A family friend has set up a GoFundMe to support the family, USA Cycling confirms.

"Magnus was taken from us while doing what he loved most, riding his bike," writes Christine Lipson, the fundraiser's organizer.

"He began cycling when he was eight and quickly rose through the cycling ranks. Magnus's journey in cycling was driven by a tireless work ethic and a deep desire to achieve his personal best. He was proud to represent his community and country around the world," writes Lipson, whose son was a close friend and teammate of White's.

White was riding on the shoulder of Highway 119, known as the Diagonal, in Boulder on Saturday afternoon when he was hit by a 23-year-old woman driving a Toyota Matrix. The driver crossed from the right-hand lane onto the shoulder, striking White from behind before she crashed into a fence, according to an incident report from the Colorado State Patrol. White was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead. The car's driver was uninjured.

Neither drugs, alcohol nor excessive speed are suspected factors in the crash, according to the state patrol.

USA Cycling said in a statement Sunday that White was a rising star in off-road cycling and "his passion for cycling was evident through his racing and camaraderie with his teammates and local community."

"We offer our heartfelt condolences to the White family, his teammates, friends, and the Boulder community during this incredibly difficult time," the statement continued. "We ride for Magnus."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Laurel Wamsley is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She reports breaking news for NPR's digital coverage, newscasts, and news magazines, as well as occasional features. She was also the lead reporter for NPR's coverage of the 2019 Women's World Cup in France.

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