Tour of Poland organisers retire number 143 in memory of Bjorg Lambrecht

The 22-year-old tragically died during the stage race in August

Fans pay tribute to Bjorg Lambrecht at the Tour of Poland 2019 (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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.

>>> ‘Professional cycling becoming associated with repression’: Human rights group condemns new race in Saudi Arabia

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.

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.