South African cyclist Carla Swart was killed Wednesday after being hit by a truck during a training session, national cycling officials said.
The 23-year-old, who came eighth in the road race at the Commonwealth Games last year, lost her cycling computer while riding and turned into the path of an oncoming truck in a bid to retrieve it, Cycling South Africa team manager Barry Austin told the Sapa news agency. "The truck hit Swart full on," he said.
"I could see how the driver pushed as hard as he could on his brakes," said Austin. "He even swerved to the right so as to avoid… Swart, but it was to no avail."
Swart died before reaching the hospital.
According to Austin, Swart was doing time trialing exercises when the accident happened.
Swart was born in Graaff-Reinet, South Africa but moved to the USA with her family when she was 15. She represented South Africa in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, finishing eighth in the road race as the top South African finisher.
She was a multi-discipline US collegiate champion in 2008 and finished eighth in the 2010 Ronde Van Drenthe World Cup. She also won the best young rider's award in the Tour de L'Aude stage race and finished 10th in the women's race at the road world championship in Australia.
HTC-Highroad posted a moving message on the team's website: "Carla, in such a short time you became part of our family and touched us all with your vibrant personality and your constant smile. You infected us with your zest for life and we will forever have you in our hearts. Our wishes go out to Carla's family and loved ones."
Deon Swart, the father of Carla, wrote the following on her facebook wall. "Carla's dad here. We all know Carla has claimed here place in Heaven. She was in an cycling accident today in South Africa while training. Thanks to everyone that was so involved in her life and career. RIP Carla. What more can I say at this stage."
BikeRadar extend our sincere condolences to her family, friends and teammates.