The Tour of Poland have retired rider number 143 for future editions of the stage race in memory of Bjorg Lambrecht.
The 22-year-old Belgian tragically died following a crash during stage three of this year’s race. Lambrecht crashed after hitting a road reflector 48km into the day’s stage, then hitting a culvert and suffering serious internal injuries.
The Lotto-Soudal rider, who wore the rider number 143 during the race, was resuscitated after the crash and then rushed to hospital, but the liver laceration he suffered caused an internal haemorrhage, which led to a cardiac arrest. He died during surgery.
Tour of Poland organisers have announced they will retire the number 143 and will never be worn again during the race in memory of the young rider.
In a statement confirming the decision, race organisers said: “We carry the memory of Bjorg Lambrecht everyday, but since it’s All Saints’ Day, please light a candle for him, wherever you go today.
“And we officially confirm that number 143 will never be worn again in the Tour de Pologne. It’s #ForBjorg. We’ll remember you always.”
The day following Lambrecht’s death, organisers neutralised stage four of the race, shortening the route by 40km to 133km.
Following an investigation by authorities in the Polish city of Rybnik where the accident happened, the deputy public prosecutor Malwina Pawela-Szendzielorz revealed the cause of the accident: “Two riders who rode behind Lambrecht saw how he hit the reflector and lost control of his bike. He turned first to the right, then to the left, hit the road and hit the culvert.
“It is sad that reflectors, intended to improve road safety, are the cause of such a tragedy.”
Hundreds attended the 22-year-olds funeral in his hometown of Knesselare, Belgium, with races held soon after the accident, including the BinckBank Tour and the Vuelta a España, also paying tribute to the rider.