Michael Goolaerts suffered heart attack prior to crash, autopsy finds

Investigation will continue to find cause of heart attack

Michael Goolaerts at the 2018 edition of Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

An investigation into the death of cyclist Michael Goolaerts after a crash at Sunday's Paris-Roubaix has found that the Belgian rider suffered a heart attack prior to his crash.

Goolaerts around midway through the race on the second cobble sector at Briastre, and was found unconscious and not breathing at the side of the road by race doctors.

The 23-year-old received treatment at the side of the road before being transferred by helicopter to a hospital in Lille. However attempts to revive him were unsuccessful and he passed away on Sunday evening surrounded by friends and family.

>>> Obituary: Michael Goolaerts, 1994-2018

The autopsy on Goolaerts' body took place on Wednesday, finding that Goolaerts' death was as a result of him suffering a heart attack while riding and not as a result of the crash.

"The autopsy confirms the previous hypothesis that death was due to a heart attack and not a crash. He suffered an attack while racing. His heart stopped, and that's why he crashed," Remy Schwartz, the state prosecutor for Cambrai, told AFP.

Further toxicological and pathological tests will now be undertaken to determine the cause of Goolaerts' heart attack.

Meanwhile Goolaerts' Veranda's Willems-Crelan team returned to action on Wednesday at De Brabantse Pijl, where riders wore black armbands and organisers held a minutes silence ahead of the race.

>>> 'Paris-Roubaix was his dream race': Wout van Aerts shares emotional tribute to Michael Goolaerts

As well as those taking part in the race, other Veranda's Willems Crelan riders and staff members attended the race to the south of Brussels and took to the stage before the race to take part in the minutes silence.

Meanwhile the race was won by fellow Belgian Tim Wellens who pointed to the heavens as he crossed the line, dedicating the win to Goolaerts, with Huub Duijn being Veranda's Willems-Crelan's best-placed rider in eigth place.

Henry Robertshaw

Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.