Sponsors flee gravel riding icon after pro cycling murder

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Colin Strickland on his gravel bike, near Pinto Canyon, Texas. (Sean Berry/Red Bull Content Pool
Colin Strickland on his gravel bike, near Pinto Canyon, Texas. (Sean Berry/Red Bull Content Pool
  • Authorities are still on the hunt for a suspect in Moriah Wilson’s murder, which has shocked the global gravel riding community.
  • The 25-year old American gravel racing pro was shot and killed in Austin, Texas, on 11 May.
  • One of the world’s most successful gravel racers has lost nearly all his sponsors, due to 'proximity' in the murder case.

The shooting of Moriah Wilson has stunned pro cycling. A start skier in her youth, Wilson had become an enormously successful gravel bike racer at a comparatively young age.

With gravel riding and racing gaining popularity, including an official UCI schedule of events, Wilson became a rising star in the hybrid discipline, between road and mountain biking.

In late April, Wilson dominated the women’s category at the Belgian Waffle race. She won by 25 minutes over the challenging 220km off-road course.

Vermont has some of the United States’ best skiing in winter and excellent off-road cycling in summer. Wilson’s endurance and bike skills were honed on the renowned Kingdom trails of Vermont.

gravel riders
Moriah Wilson, after finishing a ride. She was one of the biggest starts in women’s gravel riding. (Photo: Instagram/mo_wilson)

The issue of 'proximity' 

Wilson stayed in Austin, preparing for the Texan Gravel Locos race, when she was shot multiple times on 11 May. Police have confirmed a warrant of arrest for Kaitlin Armstrong, who remains at large.

Amid the tragedy of Moriah Wilson’s murder, is one of the world’s most esteemed gravel racers and cycling personalities, Colin Strickland.

In a police interview, Strickland admitted to having a brief relationship with Wilson last year. His live-in partner of the last three years is Kaitlin Armstrong, although Strickland has not seen her since 13 May. Strickland spent time with Wilson, in the hours before her shooting.

Colin Strickland
One of the greatest gravel riders of his generation, Strickland has now shed most of his sponsors. (Ross Morales/Red Bull Content Pool)

Sponsors want out

A long-distance gravel racing specialist and Texas native, Strickland is one of the sport’s most recognisable and influential riders.

Strickland was the first gravel rider to finish a Dirty Kanza in under ten hours, the Kansas gravel bike race regarded as one of the world’s most iconic off-road cycling events.

While police continue their pursuit of Armstrong, sponsors are disengaging from Strickland. Rapha, Enve and Specialized are three of the most influential brands in cycling, all of which confirmed the termination of their contracts with Strickland this week.

The U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force is assisting in the search for Armstrong, who has still not been located, despite an arrest warrant being issued on 17 May.

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