Belgian cyclist Michael Goolaerts has died following a crash during Paris-Roubaix when he suffered a heart attack, his team have confirmed in a statement.
The 23-year-old Belgian received treatment at the roadside after the crash when he was found unconscious by race doctors, but the Veranda’s Willems-Crelan-Charles team have confirmed he died in hospital in Lille on Sunday evening.
"It is with unimaginable sadness that we have to communicate the passing of our rider and friend Michael Goolaerts. He passed away Sunday evening at 22.40 in Lille hospital," said a team statement.
"For now there will be no further communication as we want to give his close ones time to deal with this terrible loss."
Goolaerts’ team had been anxiously awaiting a medical update on Sunday night after the cyclist was airlifted to hospital having suffered cardiac arrest.
TV images appeared to show him receiving CPR at the roadside following a crash in the 257-kilometre Paris-Roubaix race, an event held over challenging terrain and dubbed the ‘Hell of the North’..
As they waited for news from the hospital in Lille, the Veranda’s Willems-Crelan-Charles team urged people not to speculate about Goolaerts’ condition.
"On behalf of the UCI and the cycling family as a whole, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family, team and loved ones of Michael Goolaerts, who left too early," said UCI president David Lappartient.
"We share their immense sadness."
Goolaerts’ situation marred a race which was won by world champion Peter Sagan, who had never before made the top five in six attempts.