A 36-year-old bicyclist from Spain participating in the Race Across America was badly injured this morning when he was struck by a car on K-254 next to the Butler-Sedgwick County line.
Diego Ballesteros Cucurull is in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit of Wesley Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Amy Dillard said.
He remains in critical condition, she said.
The collision was reported at 6:44 a.m., a Sedgwick County dispatch supervisor said.
According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, Ballesteros was riding east in the center of the shoulder on the right-hand side of the highway.
A 22-year-old Wichita man driving east on K-254 became distracted by something in his Toyota, patrol officials said, drifted off the highway and slammed into Ballesteros.
"By all indications, texting was not a contributing factor," Warner said. "The driver looked away from the road and veered onto the shoulder, striking the cyclist."
The speed limit on that stretch of K-254 is 70 mph, though patrol officials said they do not know for sure how fast the car was traveling when it struck Ballesteros.
The Race Across America is a cross-country endurance race marking its 29th year. The race includes both indivuals and teams.
Race Across America officials declined comment late Wednesday afternoon about the collision or the impact it would have on the race.
Ballesteros left Oceanside, Calif., on Saturday, Trooper Gary Warner said, and was scheduled to finish the race in Annapolis, Md., on Saturday.
The route of more than 3,000 miles touches parts of 13 states, according to the race's website.
A teacher and attorney who lives in Barbastro-Huesca, Ballesteros is part of a 4-person team from Spain called Coanfi Desafio Aspanoa.
He rode from northern Spain to China last year, Warner said, and planned to ride from San Diego to British Columbia after he completed the Race Across America.
Check Kansas.com for updates.