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Belgian cyclist Michael Goolaerts dies after race

April 9, 2018

The young cyclist was participating in the daylong Paris-Roubaix race when he collapsed and became unresponsive. His team Veranda's Willems-Crelan Cycling said Michael Goolaerts was with his family when he died.

Belgian cyclist Michael Goolaerts
Image: Imago/S. Stefano

The 23-year-old Michael Goolaerts died of heart failure on Sunday. He was a member of the Belgian professional cycling team Veranda's Willems-Crelan.

During Sunday's Paris-Roubaix race, Goolaerts collapsed approximately 150 kilometers (93 miles) from the finish line. A medical team on site tried to help the young cyclist, as he was found to be nonresponsive and not breathing. Goolaerts then had to be airlifted to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Veranda's Willems-Crelan Cycling team said in a statement that Goolaerts died of cardiac arrest and that all medical assistance to try to save him "was to no avail."

"It is with unimaginable sadness that we have to communicate the passing of our rider and friend Michael Goolaerts. He passed away Sunday evening at 22.40 in Lille hospital," his team said.

The team added that the cyclist died "in the presence of his family members and loved ones, who we keep in our thoughts."

Michael Goolaerts became a professional rider in 2014 at the age of 20 and Sunday marked his first appearance at the renowned Paris-Roubaix race. The race is known as "The Hell of the North" for its difficult surface and conditions. 

jcg/se (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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