An autopsy carried out on the body of Michael Goolaerts has confirmed that the Belgian rider died of cardiac arrest. He suffered the heart attack and fell off his bike during a race on the weekend.
Remy Schwartz, the state prosecutor for the northern French commune of Cambrai said the autopsy following Michael Goolaerts' death on Sunday, confirmed that the Belgian had died of cardiac arrest, as had been widely speculated.
"The autopsy confirms the previous hypothesis that death was due to a heart attack and not a crash," Schwartz told the AFP news agency on Wednesday. "He suffered an attack while racing. His heart stopped, and that's why he crashed."
The 23-year-old Goolaerts crashed in the early stages of the Paris-Roubaix one-day classic and shortly afterwards he was found unconscious and not breathing along the side of the road.
He was rushed to a hospital in Lille, but the Veranda's Willems team rider was pronounced dead late on Sunday.
Toxicology and other tests are now to be conducted on his body in an effort to determine an exact cause of the heart attack. The results of these may not be known for several weeks.
Riders pay tribute
Riders held a minute's silence and wore black armbands (pictured above) in honor of Goolaerts at De Brabantse Pijl race in Belgium on Wednesday.
The race was won by Belgian rider Tim Wellens, who dedicated the victory to his late, fellow countryman.
Goolaerts is just one of a number of professional cyclists to have died of heart attacks in recent years.
pfd/jh (SID, AFP, dpa)