Inquiry starts into rider's death
An investigation has been launched into the death of a Belgian rider during Sunday's Paris-Roubaix classic.
Michael Goolaerts (23) suffered a cardiac arrest around 150km from the end of the 257km race, on the day's second cobbled sector. No images of the incident were available but TV footage of the race showed Goolaerts lying unresponsive on the side of the road as the peloton passed him.
He was airlifted to hospital in Lille after receiving CPR treatment by the side of the road but was declared dead at 9.40pm.
Cambrai prosecutor Remi Schwartz said that an autopsy would be performed on Goolaerts' body in the coming days to determine the exact cause of death.
Schwartz suggested that Goolaerts might have fallen off his bike because of his heart attack, rather than suffered one in the wake of his crash. "But at this stage we don't have any absolute certainty," he stressed. "There is no obvious explanation, nor an obvious traumatism as the cause (of his death)."
Goolaerts rode for the Veranda's Willems-Crelan team, who announced that they would ride De Brabantse Pijl tomorrow.
"After careful consultation with the family of Michael and our riders, we decided that we will be at the start of @DeBrabantsePijl this Wednesday 11/4," the team posted in a statement on Twitter. "We will ride #BP18 with Michael in our hearts."
Goolaerts' death came two years after Belgian cyclist Daan Myngheer died following a heart attack during the Criterium International race in Corsica.
Under the rules of cycling's world governing body the UCI every professional rider must undergo medical monitoring that includes heart screening.
"Every rider has to have an annual medical examination that involves an ultrasound and they measure the rhythm of your heart," former team-mate James Shaw said. "I don't think anyone will ever know truly what happened."
Shaw added that Goolaerts was "one of the most pleasant people to be around I'd ever met".