The cycling world has paid tribute to Michael Goolaerts, the 23-year-old Belgian rider who tragically lost his life after suffering from a cardiac arrest during Paris-Roubaix in France on Sunday.
The Veranda’s Willems-Crelan rider fell on the Briastre cobble sector. After receiving emergency treatment by medics at the scene, he was transferred by helicopter to hospital in Lille.
His team confirmed on Sunday evening that he had died in hospital, surrounded by family and friends.
Fellow professional riders, team staff, supporters and other from all around the cycling have world paid tribute to Goolaerts.
Wout van Aert posted a photograph of his team-mate Goolaerts. The two riders – both 23 years old – had raced together and come up through the ranks. Van Aert said: “I cannot yet grasp this. Your eternal smile will always remain an inspiration to me”.
Paris-Roubaix winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) said: “All the thoughts and prayers of the @BORAhansgrohe team and myself are with Michael Goolaerts. Such sad news.”
In April 2017, the Hagen Berman Axeon team lost a young rider after 21-year-old Chad Young succumbed to injuries sustained after crashing during the Tour of the Gila. The team said: “Terrible, awful news. Our deepest heartfelt condolences to you and Michael’s family and friends. RIP.”
Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac) said: “The whole evening I was hoping for the best, but afraid of the worst. Worried that this post would come up… Much strength to Michael’s family, friends and team. You go well. RIP Michael”.
Welshman Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) had started Paris-Roubaix, but withdrew from the race after crashing. He said via Twitter: “Such terrible news. So so sad. My thoughts with all is loved ones”.
Grand Tour star Alberto Contador said: “My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Michael Goolaerts, since the end of the race I have not stopped thinking about him”.
UCI president David Lappartient said: “On behalf of the Union Cycliste Internationale and the cycling family as a whole, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family, team and friends of Michael Goolaerts, who left us too early today. We share their immense sadness.”
German sprinter André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal) said “My sincerest condolences to the family of Michael – terrible news. RIP Michael”
Australian former sprinter Robbie McEwen said: “My sincerest condolences to Michael’s loved ones. Innige deelneming – RIP”
Irish rider Conor Dunne (Aqua Blue Sport) said: “Such terrible terrible news to wake up to. My thoughts are with Michael’s friends and family. RIP.
Numerous teams also paid tribute to Goolaerts.