All of the Lotto-Soudal riders at the Tour of Poland have decided to continue the race, after the death of team-mate Bjorg Lambrecht.
The Belgian talent suffered a fatal crash 48km into stage three of the week-long tour, being rushed to hospital where he died during surgery.
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Race organisers decided to neutralise stage four and hold a procession in memory of the 22-year-old, with the Lotto-Soudal squad leading the peloton in an emotional tribute that included a minute’s silence after 48km.
The Lotto team at the Tour of Poland – Sander Armée, Carl Fredrik Hagen, Tomasz Marczyński, Harm Vanhoucke, Jelle Wallays and Enzo Wouters – will all continue the race, after the Belgian gave them the choice to leave after stage four.
Lotto-Soudal said on Tuesday evening (August 6): “After intense consultation and deliberation between our riders and staff, and with the external advice of a trauma specialist, who emphasised the importance of the collective mourning process, the riders got the free choice to take to the start.
“Most of them want to start stage five, but they are free to decide tomorrow morning.”
The team then confirmed on Wednesday morning (August 7) that all riders would take to the start of stage five.
Lotto’s Carl Fredrik Hagen said: “Bjorg will be with me in my heart for the rest of my life and career.
“I’ll ride for him and aim for the victories we were supposed to capture together.”
Stage four of the Tour of Poland was neutralised and held as a 133km procession from Jaworzno to Kocierz.
The peloton stopped after 48km for a minute’s silence, with Lotto-Soudal riders and staff stopping at the front of the bunch.
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 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 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.