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Moriah Wilson murder: Pro gravel rider expresses “regret and torture” after police issue arrest warrant for partner

Colin Strickland, who won Unbound in 2019, has released a statement as his partner, fellow cyclist Kaitlin Armstrong, faces a first-degree murder charge

As details emerge following the murder of leading US gravel racer Moriah ‘Mo’ Wilson in Austin, Texas, on 11 May, pro cyclist Colin Strickland has released a statement expressing his “regret and torture” at his proximity to the shocking crime.

25-year-old Wilson, one of the off-road side of the sport’s most exciting prospects who had just won the Belgian Waffle Ride in San Diego, was staying with a friend in Austin before the Gravel Locos race when she was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds

Yesterday it was revealed that police had issued an arrest warrant for fellow cyclist Kaitlin Armstrong, who is wanted for first-degree murder in connection with Wilson’s death and whose whereabouts are currently unknown.

> Top American gravel racer shot dead in Texas 

Armstrong’s partner of three years, Strickland, has since issued a statement clarifying his relationship with both Armstrong and Wilson, and expressing his regret at the murder.

35-year-old Strickland, who is sponsored by Red Bull, is one of America’s top gravel and fixed-gear racers and in 2019 won the Unbound Gravel 200, then known as the Dirty Kanza, the sport’s biggest race. 

A year later he was approached by EF Education-EasyPost boss Jonathan Vaughters to join the squad’s classics line-up, an offer he turned down to maintain his personal sponsorships. 

In October 2021 Strickland entered into a brief romantic relationship with Wilson during a break in his relationship with Armstrong, with whom he also ran a mobile accommodation business. Strickland says he resumed his relationship with Armstrong a month later, after which he maintained a “platonic and professional” friendship with Wilson.

It has been reported, however, that Armstrong discovered that Wilson and Strickland had continued to be involved in January 2022, and began to threaten Wilson. 

According to an affidavit obtained by the Boston Globe, on the day of her murder Wilson had gone for a swim with a male cyclist presumed to be Strickland. 

Strickland confirmed to police that he had dropped Wilson off at her friend’s house around 8.30pm before returning home. Minutes later, a vehicle similar to the one registered to Strickland and Armstrong’s home was captured on a neighbour’s security camera outside the apartment. He also told police that Armstrong, driving her black Jeep, returned to their home at about 9.20pm.

Strickland, who has not been charged with any offence, issued the following statement through social media:

I am reeling from grieving Mo Wilson’s death and from the facts that have emerged during the investigation. I cannot begin to imagine the pain felt by Mo’s family and her close friends.

There is no way to adequately express the regret and torture I feel about my proximity to this horrible crime. I am sorry, and I simply cannot make sense of this unfathomable tragedy.

Although it will be a matter of small consolation to anyone else who cared for Mo, I want you to know that I have cooperated fully with investigators ever since I learned the terrible news, and I will continue to do so until some form of justice is served.

As a point of clarification to facts previously reported, Moriah Wilson and I had a brief romantic relationship from late October-early November 2021 that spanned a week or so while Wilson was visiting Austin. At the time, she and I had both recently ended relationships. She returned to her home in California and about a month later, Kaitlin Armstrong and I reconciled and resumed our relationship.

Since then I often saw Mo at cycling events, and always in public settings. We both competed in Bentonville, AR, Stillwater, and Monterrey CA. We also met for a 4-hour training ride in Santa Cruz after the Sea Otter Classic in Monterrey.

After our brief relationship in October of 2021, we were not in a romantic relationship, only a platonic and professional one. It was not my intention to pursue along an auxiliary romantic relationship that would mislead anyone. Moriah and I were both leaders in this lonely, niche sport of Cycling, and I admired her greatly and considered her a close friend. I am deeply grieving her loss.

The murder of the popular 25-year-old gravel and mountain bike rider from Vermont has rocked US cycling. Wilson had recently left her job at Specialized to focus on her racing career.

After finishing second at the Leadville 100 MTB race and winning the Big Sugar Gravel in 2021, she progressed rapidly this year, putting together a string of impressive victories at Lake Sonoma MTB, Huffmaster Hopper, the Sea Otter Classic Fuego MTB 80K, and the Belgian Waffle Ride, taken just a week before her death.

Ryan joined as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

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