US rider Young dies of injuries from race crash

Chad Young, 21, died after suffering severe head injuries in a wreck during a high-speed mountain descent in the final stage of the Tour de Gila in New Mexico

American pro cyclist Chad Young died Friday night of injuries suffered in a crash during last weekend's final stage of the Tour de Gila in New Mexico, his team announced Saturday.

The 21-year-old rider from Newmarket, New Hampshire, was hurt last Sunday during a high-speed mountain descent in the fifth stage of the New Mexico race, a seven-mile (11.3km) trek known as the Gila Monster.

Young suffered severe head injuries in the wreck and was flown to a hospital in Tucson, Arizona.

"I am very sorry to let everyone know that Chad Young did not survive his crash last Sunday. He passed away Friday evening, surrounded by his family," said Axel Merckx, general manager of the Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team.

"We lost a friend, a teammate and a family member. I have no words that can express my pain over this loss. I can only say that I am very thankful to have known him and that I feel privileged to have been able to share in his passion for cycling."

Merckx, who thanked supporters for their well wishes, said Thursday that Young was not expected to survive.

"We are devastated by this news & send our sincere condolences to his family, friends,& teammates," Tour of the Gila tweeted in reaction to the announcement.

"It's a heartbreaking situation," said race director Jack Brennan. "The Axeon Hagens Berman team and its team director, Axel Merckx, have always recruited and mentored these incredible young men to help them mature in the sport of cycling and Chad was certainly in that mold."