Friends and family of American cyclocross racer Amy Dombroski are set to gather in Belgium and Colorado this week to remember her, and one week after a training crash took the Boulder, Colorado, resident’s life, details of that crash are becoming clearer.
Based on a report from the accident investigator and multiple Belgian news outlets, Dombroski’s fatal training accident on Oct. 7 occurred on the narrow stretch of road near Betekom, Belgium, pictured above in image No. 2.
According to the accident report from the public prosecutor in Leuven, Dombroski was motorpacing behind a scooter when the pair encountered a truck, on the opposite side of the road, traveling the opposite direction. The truck held the right-of-way in a roughly 50-meter narrowing on the road, which surrounds the intersection between Werchtersesteenweg and Tolhuisstraat.
The speed limit on Werchtersesteenweg near this location is 70 kph, meaning that the truck may have been traveling at a high rate of speed, but, according to the prosecutor, not in excess of the limit.
“The young lady [rode] for training behind a moped when she approached a narrowing of the road,” the report, filed on the date of the crash, reads. “The pacemaker saw that from the opposite direction a truck was approaching and did signal to the cyclist. The moped could avoid the truck, but the cyclist drove head-on into the oncoming vehicle. She was killed on impact. The public prosecutor in Leuven dispatched a medical examiner, a laboratory, and a traffic expert to the site. The initial findings indicated that the truck driver had not used alcohol or drugs and did not drive excessively fast. He also had priority over the narrowing of the road.”
Based on images used in a report by Belgian television station VTM Nieuws, it appears that Dombroski impacted the front passenger side of the truck, striking the bumper and hood. Photos of the crash scene showed her bicycle laying on the ground in front of the vehicle, the front fork arms sheered off approximately 10cm below the brake posts. Dombroski appears to have traveled through the air toward the outside of the road, landing behind the truck’s eventual resting place approximately 100 meters from the site of the crash.
Belgian daily Het Nieuwsblad reported that Dombroski had been following long-time pacer Emile Van den Broeck, who lives in Heist-Goor, where Dombroski also lived during the cyclocross season.
“On the Werchtersesteenweg, at the level of the traffic gate created last year, it went wrong. I suddenly heard a thump, but I didn’t see it,” Van den Broeck told Het Nieuwsblad. “My life has been shattered. What happened this afternoon defies all imagination. It is incomprehensible.”
The reports from the Belgian press and the prosecutor’s accident report mirror the events described to VeloNews, and in a press release, by Telenet-Fidea team management last week. At this point, it is unclear why Van den Broeck and Dombroski were not riding in the cycle lane, which is somewhat common practice in the area, or why the pilot did not slow down ahead of the narrowing to yield the right-of-way.
Dombroski’s friends and family will memorialize her on Friday in Heist-Op-De Berg, Belgium, and on Saturday and Sunday at the UCI cyclocross races in Boulder, Colorado. Riders will conduct a group “Amy D Lap of Honor” on each day at 2 p.m. MDT in Boulder. A memorial service took place at the Valmont Bike Park, site of the Boulder Cup and the 2014 national championships, on Sunday, and Dombroski’s contemporaries remembered her with frame decals, tattoos, and upturned cap bills at the Providence Cyclocross Festival.
Friends of Dombroski have set up a memorial fund to defray her family’s expenses. Donations can be dropped off at the Pro Peloton bike shop in Boulder or mailed to:
Memorial of Amy Dombroski
c\o Wells Fargo Deposits
1242 Pearl St
Boulder, CO 80302
An effort is also underway to establish a scholarship fund in Dombroski’s name that would support an under-23 female rider attending the cyclocross world championships.
VeloNews’ Dan Seaton contributed reporting for this story.