Goolaerts suffers cardiac arrest at Paris-Roubaix

Belgian rider taken by helicopter to hospital in Lille

[ed update 22:57 BST: We are deeply saddened to write that Michael Goolaerts died this evening. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and teammates].

Michael Goolaerts (Veranda's Willems-Crelan) has been taken to hospital following a crash at Paris-Roubaix. The 23-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken to a nearby hospital in Lille, the team confirmed to Sporza.be.

"Michael Goolaerts was involved in a crash and forced to abandon the race. He was taken to hospital. No further news at the moment," his team wrote in a statement on their official Twitter account.

Goolaerts was unresponsive on the ground and appeared to be receiving chest compressions at the side of the road. Paramedics utilised a defibrillator. He was resuscitated and then transferred to a hospital in nearby Lille by helicopter.

Goolaerts crashed with 148km remaining of the 257km race. There were no images of the incident and it appeared that the Belgian had crashed alone.

Following the race, the medical race bulletin provided a statement about the Goolaerts condition as life-threatening, "[Michael Goolaerts] suffered cardiorespiratory arrest. He was treated by the race medical team and transported by hospital to the CHU in Lille. The condition is life-threatening."

Event organiser, Christian Prudhomme, also provided the press with a comment. "Paris-Roubaix is a day of strong sporting emotions but they are naturally dampened by an incident like this. We are awaiting further news. My thoughts are with his family."

Goolaerts is in his fourth season with Veranda's Willems-Crelan: 2013-2014 when the team was at the Continental level and 2017-2018 as a Professional Continental team. He spent a brief period as a trainee with the WorldTour team Lotto Soudal.

His top results this season include placing ninth at Dwars door Vlaanderen, 20th at both Driedaagse De Panne and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.

He lined up with Veranda's Willems-Crelan in support of Wout van Aert, the team's cyclo-cross world champion. Van Aert has had a run of top-10 finishes during this season's Classics and was among the outside favourites at Paris-Roubaix.

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