Riders and teams have united to pay tribute to the 22-year-old talent Bjorg Lambrecht who died after a crash.
The Belgian was involved in a fall on stage three of the Tour of Poland and was rushed to hospital, where he passed away.
Lotto-Soudal rider Lambrecht was emerging as a star of the next generation of Belgian riders in only his second season at WorldTour level, and his death has had a huge impact on the peloton.
World champion Alejandro Valverde said: “Deeply sorry for the loss of Bjorg Lambrecht, a cyclist who had demonstrated a lot in a few years.
“My deepest condolences to family, friends and team.”
Valverde’s Movistar team added: “Sometimes, life is simply not fair. So young with so many things yet to do.
“All our thoughts are with the family, friends and Lotto-Soudal team-mates of Bjorg Lambrecht,.
“Rest in peace.”
News of Lambrecht’s crash emerged in the final 100km of stage three of the week-long race, with race organisers announcing that he had been resuscitated after the fall and was being taken to hospital by ambulance.
Shortly after the stage finished, Lotto-Soudal confirmed that Lambrecht had died.
Bora-Hansgrohe’s Pascal Ackermann, who won stage three after Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was relegated, said: “Today, the result of the race doesn’t matter. I was devastated to hear today’s tragic news and I would like to personally send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Bjorg Lambrecht and everyone at Lotto-Soudal.”
Ackermann’s words were echoed by Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere, who said: “Disqualification is not important in light of the dramatic news about Bjorg Lambrecht.
“No words to express my sadness. My condolences to the team, team-mates and family.”
Astana said on social media: “It is an enormous tragedy and it is hard to find words to express our sorrow.
“Bjorg Lambrecht was so young and so talented. This has a huge impact on all of the cycling world. We express our deepest condolences to the family and Lotto-Soudal team.”
CCC Team said: “The riders and staff of CCC Team are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Bjorg Lambrecht. Our deepest sympathies go out to Bjorg’s family and friends and the entire Lotto-Soudal team at this incredibly sad time.”
Lambrecht was riding his second season at WorldTour level and has been one of the great Belgian hopes.
He finished second in the under-23 World Championships last year and went on to ride to 12th in the Critérium du Dauphiné, taking the youth classification in the process.
Lambrecht also finished fifth in Brabantse Pijl earlier this year, following up with sixth in Amstel Gold Race and fourth in Flèche Wallone.
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