We regretfully report that Clif Pro Team member Ben Sonntag was killed Wednesday afternoon after being hit by a pickup truck while riding his road bike.
According to the Durango Herald, “Sonntag was traveling north on County Road 105 on his Specialized Tarmac road bicycle when he was struck by a green 1991 Ford Ranger driven by 19-year-old Cordell Schneider of Durango. Schneider was taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center with minor injuries. No charges had been filed as of Thursday morning.”
Sonntag’s team published the following statement on their Instagram page Thursday.
We are all absolutely heartbroken to let everyone know that we have lost a member of our family, Ben Sonntag. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family, teammates, friends, and fans as we all cope with this terrible tragedy.
Ben had been with CLIF Bar for more than 10 years and we can’t tell you how saddened we are by this—first and foremost for Ben and his immediate family—but also for the entire cycling community as we bear another unspeakably senseless loss of life.
As cyclists, we put our lives at risk every time we strike out on the road, but somehow, we deem these risks acceptable as we practice our craft. Sadly, something like this brings those risks into focus and sheds a glaring light on the exposure we all have out there; exposure that increases daily with the proliferation of distractions from mobile phones and other devices. But this is what we do.
At this point, we don’t know any more than what’s in the article linked in our bio, but we will keep you up to speed as details emerge.
Please be careful out there and keep Ben and his family in your immediate thoughts.
Godspeed Ben. May you rest in peace.
The German-born professional athlete moved to Durango, Colorado, to attend Fort Lewis College where he graduated in 2010, remaining an integral character in the local and national cycling scene thereafter. His collegiate team also issued their condolences and confusion regarding the tragic accident in the following tweet.
We want to express our condolences to Sonntag’s family and friends, and to the greater cycling community. Though we didn’t all know Ben Sonntag, we are one giant two-wheeled family and tragedies like this one can ignite sadness and fear for any of us who pedal down roads full of distracted drivers. Please be safe out there.