A thousand people attended Frederiek Nolf's funeral over the weekend. The young Belgian died in his sleep during the Tour of Qatar.
"Frederiek was one of the nicest riders on the team and also a very talented rider," Team Topsport Vlaanderen Directeur Sportif Walter Planckaert said, according to sporza.be. "That he left us in this way, there are no words for it. This is a very sad job.
"All the riders are here, the complete team is in mourning. We will never forget Frederiek."
Nolf's casket was in the community house in Kuurne for an hour Saturday morning, allowing mourners to pay their respects. About 500 people attended the service at the Michielskerk. Among those present were former Belgian premier Yves Leterme, Sport Minister Bert Anciaux, Stijn Devolder of Team Quick Step and Topsport Vlaanderen Team Manager Christophe Sercu, as well as the entire team.
Meanwhile, the team has started to look to the future. "We start again in the Volta ao Algarve (February 18) and Laigueglia (February 22)," Planckaert said. "We will ride these races with Frederiek in our thoughts."(SW)