Bjorg Lambrecht’s team-mates led the peloton across the finish line of stage four of the Tour of Poland, as a procession was held in memory of the 22-year-old.
Lotto-Soudal rider Lambrecht suffered a fatal crash 48km into stage three of the week-long race, being rushed to hospital where he passed away shortly after.
Organisers of the Tour of Poland decided to neutralise the race the following day and hold a shortened procession stage in memory of Lambrecht.
The planned 173.3km course from Jaworzno to Kocierz was shortened to 133.7km, with the peloton only taking on one lap of the finishing circuit.
Lambrecht’s Lotto-Soudal team-mates at the Tour of Poland led the peloton for the opening 48km of the stage, before the race was stopped for an emotional minute’s silence.
Lotto riders Sander Armée, Carl Fredrik Hagen, Tomasz Marczyński, Harm Vanhoucke, Jelle Wallays and Enzo Wouters stopped at the front of the bunch for the silence, surrounded by team staff.
Each team then took turns pulling at the front of the bunch at a set speed of around 35km/h for the remainder of the stage.
The entire peloton was clearly affected by the awful news of the previous day, as riders lined up in team colours across the road. Some teams wore black armbands as a mark of respect.
The stage culminated with Lotto-Soudal leading the bunch to the finish, stopping ahead of their fellow riders for another moment of reflection.
A black banner had been put up in place of a finish line, with Lambrecht’s name and his race number 143 in white letters.
The team said: “During the 2016 cycling season, as a first year U23, everybody was talking about Bjorg, within and also outside the peloton. Words like ‘pocket climber’, ‘rough diamond’, ‘puncher’, ‘Grand Tour hope’ were used.
“With playful determination, he integrated into the world of professional cycling. Team-mates and staff appreciated his work ethic and humility, opponents discovered his talent, and the media appreciated his nuanced but clear story.”
The team said that Lambrecht had got on well with German sprinter André Greipel, who left Lotto last season, and domestique Sander Armée, also sharing a room with older rider Lars Bak and youngster Harm Vanhoucke.
Lambrecht was also friends with Tour de France winner Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) and Katusha-Alpecin’s Steff Cras, as all three joined the WorldTour at the same time.
The Tour of Poland 2019 continues on stage five with a return to planned race from Wielickza to Bielsko-Biała over 153.8km, with Bora-Hansgrohe’s Pascal Ackermann still in the leader’s jersey.
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