The rising bike star, who visited Texas for the competition, was found shot in Austin this month, sparking a close community of off-road bikes and racing.
Investigators began compiling that night’s narrative with surveillance video, a remorseful interview with another professional cyclist he was seeing, and eventually ballistics. Now the American marshals are helping the police find the woman who was suspected in the death of 25-year-old Anna Moria Wilson.
The suspect, 34-year-old Caitlin Marie Armstrong, met 35-year-old Colin Strickland, another stellar bike, a discipline that combines mountain biking and road biking. Police said Ms Wilson was also romantically linked to Mr Strickland.
On the night of May 11, a friend returned to his home in Austin, where Ms. Wilson was staying, found Ms. Wilson bloody and unconscious, and called 911, police said.
Ms Wilson, known as Mo, was soon pronounced dead, police said. An initial investigation revealed that someone had shot Ms. Wilson several times at home and that the shooting did not appear to be accidental.
The night he was killed, Ms. Wilson and Mr. Strickland visited the Deep Eddy Pool in Austin together, according to a police oath published by The Austin American-Statesman.
In an interview with police, Mr. Strickland said he let Ms. Wilson into a friend’s house and did not go inside. He told police he was in a romantic relationship with Ms Wilson in October, during a one- or two-week break with Ms. Armstrong, from about a three-year relationship, according to the oath.
In December or January, Mr. Strickland bought two 9mm guns, one for himself and one for Ms. Armstrong, according to a dedicated statement. Ms Armstrong’s police analysis of the rifle found in Mr Strickland’s home showed that he had “significant” potential to be the same as that used to kill Ms Wilson.
A car similar to Ms. Armstrong, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, was spotted outside Austin’s home, where Ms. Wilson was staying an hour before police answered her boyfriend’s 911 call, the statement said. Ms Armstrong did not explain why her car was seen at the scene of the shooting, police said.
Ms Wilson’s body was found a day after police arrested Ms Armstrong on an unspecified misdemeanor warrant, but were then informed that the warrant was not in force and told Ms Armstrong that he could leave it if he wished, he said.
Austin police did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Mr. Strickland and his sponsor Red Bull did not respond to a request for comment. Mrs. Armstrong failed.
The statement said police received a message from an anonymous caller. The caller said Ms Armstrong said in January that he wanted to kill Ms Wilson after hearing that Mr Strickland was in a romantic relationship with Ms Wilson before he met Ms Armstrong.
Mr. Strickland said he had had no contact with Ms. Armstrong since May 13, according to the oath.
“There is no way I can adequately express the remorse and torture I feel for my closeness to this horrific crime,” Mr Strickland told The American-Statesman. “I’m sorry and just do not understand this incomprehensible tragedy.”
Mr. Strickland said he had a brief romantic relationship with Ms. Wilson in the fall, “which lasted about a week,” and then reconciled with Ms. Armstrong. He said he and Ms. Wilson have not had a romantic relationship since then, but were in a platonic and professional relationship and often met each other at bicycle events.
She said Ms. Wilson was “the best female cyclist in the United States and possibly in the world,” according to the oath.
“Moria and I were both leaders in this lonely, iconic sport of cycling, I was very impressed with it and considered it a close friend,” Mr Strickland said in a statement. “I’m deeply saddened by his loss.”
In an interview with VeloNews magazine in May, Ms Wilson said she had just quit her job as a specialist in a bicycle company to focus on full-time cycling. VeloNews reported that Ms. Wilson has won 10 off-road races this year.
Bicycle publications have described Ms. Wilson as a rising star in the off-road racing world, who has recently made impressive appearances, including winning the 80-mile race at the Sea Otter Classic in April at the Bicycle Festival in Monterey, California.
His death shook the world of mountain biking and gravel racing and respect for him was posted on the internet.
Rebecca Rush, a professional cyclist, said on Instagram that there was “a bubble of positivity and joy” around Ms. Wilson.
Ms. Wilson traveled to Texas to compete in the Gravel Locos, a 150-mile race in Hiko, about 135 miles north of Austin. Race winner Marisa Vanderstein Boaz said on Instagram that she wanted Ms. Wilson to win it.
Ms. Boaz said she did not know Ms. Wilson personally, but was inspired by her.
“I know that all the participants did everything and I think Mo wanted to,” Ms. Boaz wrote.
Vimal Patel Contributed to the report.