Belgian pro cyclist Michael Goolaerts has died in hospital following a cardiac arrest during Paris-Roubaix. The rider was airlifted to hospital in Lille but died this evening surrounded by his loved ones. He was 23 years old.
"It is with great 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 in the presence of his family members and loves ones, who we keep in our thoughts. He died of cardiac arrest, all medical assistance was to no avail," his team, Verandas Willems-Crelan, posted online.
"For now there will be no further communication as we want to give his close ones time to deal with this terrible loss. We thank you in advance for respecting the privacy of his relatives."
Goolaerts crashed with 148km remaining of the 257km race. There were no images of the incident and it appeared that the Belgian came down by himself.
Following the race, the medical race bulletin provided a statement about Goolaerts' condition, describing it 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."
Just after the race, event organiser Christian Prudhomme 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 was in his second season with the Verandas Willems-Crelan cycling team as a Professional Continental team (2017 and 2018), and he was with the team for two additional seasons at the Continental level (2013 and 2014). He had raced a full schedule of Classics races this year. He finished in the top 10 at the Dwars door West-Vlaanderen race in March. He was also 20th at both Driedaagse De Panne and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.
Everyone at Cyclingnews would like to extend their deepest condolences to Goolaerts' family, friends and teammates.