Cycling rocked as two Belgian riders die after separate incidents at weekend
As the cycling world was coming to terms with the death of a Belgian rider, Antoine Demoitie, in a crash with a motorcycle in the Gent-Wevelgem classic on Sunday, officials announced the death of a second Belgian rider, Daan Myngheer, from a heart attack suffered in the Criterium International race in Corsica.
Myngheer, 22, passed away in a hospital in d’Ajaccio, on the island’s west, surrounded by his family and his partner Emely, his team Roubaix Metropole Lille said.
“It is with deep sorrow that we inform you of Daan’s death,” the team said in a post on its Facebook page. “He lost his last race after fighting like a champion.”
Demoitie, 25, was killed by a motorcycle that ran into him after he fell during the Gent-Wevelgem race on Sunday.
Myngheer, who would have turned 23 on April 13, pulled up in difficulty some 30km from the line in the first stage of the race at Porto-Vecchio on Saturday.
He suffered a heart attack while in an ambulance, before being transferred by helicopter to hospital where he was put on artificial respiration and fell into a coma.
Myngheer, Belgian junior champion in 2011, turned professional last year with the Verandas Willems team before joining third-division Roubaix Metropole Lille this season.
“Rest in peace champion,” the team said.
The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA), meanwhile, wants an urgent investigation into Demoitie’s death.
“The CPA and all the riders demand that light is shed on the accident immediately and the circumstances that caused it,” the association said in a statement on Monday.
CPA president Gianni Bugno, who won the world road race title in 1991 and 1992, said it was a time of “sadness and sorrow”.
“We do not want to make controversy but we have so much frustration inside,” added the Italian. “We have always stated that the safety of the riders must come first.
“I do not want to accuse anyone but make everyone reflect on the responsibility we have to ensure that a very high level of attention and awareness is maintained plus control over safety standards during each race,” Bugno said.
Demoitie was appearing in his second world tour race, having made his first appearance in the E3 Harelbeke event in Belgium earlier in the week for his team, Wanty-Gobert.
The sport’s governing body, the UCI, said it would work with the relevant authorities looking into his death.
“The UCI is extremely saddened to learn about the passing of Belgian rider Antoine Demoitie,” it said.
“Antoine will be truly missed,” added UCI president Brian Cookson. “Our thoughts are with his family, friends and team.”