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A chain reaction accident involving two semi-trailer rigs and a van killed two men — including internationally known cyclist Stephen Tilford — early Wednesday morning on Interstate 70 near the Utah-Colorado border.

Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce said the tragic events began with the first semi drifting off the road and then overcorrecting. It overturned, coming to rest on its side and blocking all eastbound lanes of the highway at mile marker 214.

Moments later, a Mercedes-Benz van plowed into and through the big rig's trailer.

Tilford, 57, of Topeka, Kansas, got out of the van and was standing next it when a second semi crashed into the wreckage, striking and killing him.

The driver of the second semi, 70-year-old Stanley Williams of Grand Junction, Colo., also died of his injuries at the scene.

A passenger in the van was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries; the driver of the first semi was not reported hurt.

The highway was closed down for nearly four hours as wreckage was cleared and the scene investigated by troopers.

Tilford, inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 2000, had five Union Cycliste Internationale masters' class championships, four U.S. National Cyclo-Cross titles and two world championships in Masters Cyclocross competitions, in addition to a U.S. National Mountain Bike championship.

Twitter: @remims