A 27-year-old rider has been placed into a medically induced coma after suffering a heart attack during a one-day race.
Robbert de Greef fell ill during the Omloop van de Braakman and was given CPR “for hours” according to his team.
The Alecto Cycling Team rider is said to be fighting for his life after the medical incident.
In a statement, his team said: “Yesterday, something we hoped would never happen became a reality – one of our riders suffered a heart attack.
“During the first kilometres of the Omloop van de Braakman, Robbert de Greef became unwell in the opening phase of the race and they performed CPR on him for hours.
“He was taken to hospital in Antwerp by ambulance.
“Robbert is currently fighting for his life and therefore we ask you to respect his and his family’s privacy.
“All our thoughts are with Robbert, his girlfriend, family and friends.”
De Greef was placed into a medically induced coma for 48 hours, after which doctors will see if he is strong enough to undergo follow-up treatment.
The Dutchman rode for Professional Continental outfit Roompot in 2018, leaving the team as part of its merger with Vérandas Willems-Crelan.
He finished second in Ronde van Drenthe last month behind countryman Pim Ligthart (Direct Energie).
Late last year, British Cycling announced its athletes will undergo yearly heart scans after a number of high-profile sporting figures suffered cardiac arrests.
Riders from academy to elite level with the British governing body will be assessed by health experts and could even be advised to retire if their safety is at risk.
Around 12 young athletes between the ages of 14 and 35 die each week from cardiac arrests in Britain, according to sport cardiologist Professor John Somauroo.
At the 2018 Paris-Roubaix 23-year-old Michael Goolaerts suffered a cardiac arrest while riding, causing him to crash.
The Belgian Veranda’s Willems-Crelan rider was airlifted to hospital but died that day.