Tour of Pologne cast into mourning at death of Bjorg Lambrecht

Race doctor says rider died during operation trying to save his life

The medical staff of the Tour de Pologne, including the race doctor, have explained how their best efforts were unable to save Lotto Soudal pro Bjorg Lambrecht during stage 3 of the race.

Early reports say that the young Belgian climber crashed into a concrete culvert approximately halfway through stage 3 three from Chorzow to Zabrze in southern Poland. No other rider was reportedly involved. The stage, pancake flat and designed for a bunch sprint finish, forms a 150-kilometre loop, but the two towns are only about 20 kilometres apart by direct road.

Race doctor Ryszard Wisniewski was quoted as saying, "We don't know why he fell, it was on a totally flat road. We tried to give a heart massage just afterwards, then we called for a helicopter but his condition was so serious it wasn't able to transport him.

"So we did more reanimation there where he was and then took him to the hospital by ambulance. More reanimation was done on the way to the hospital, but he died during the operation there in the hospital," Wisniewski said.

Lambrecht was taken to a hospital in Rybnik, approximately 30 kilometres away from the two towns.

Race director Czeslaw Lang confirmed the death in a short speech from the usual winners podium - where all celebrations were reportedly cancelled. Apparently the Tour de Pologne will continue, although if so, the massive tragedy will hang over the event until after the last stage.

The Belgian rider had high hopes for the Tour de Pologne after taking a break after the Critérium du Dauphiné, where he finished 12th and won the best young rider classification. He was one of the most promising riders of his generation, having won the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and taken second in the Tour de l'Avenir, Giro Ciclistico della Valle d'Aosta Mont Blanc, Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc and Ronde de l'Isard in 2017. He won the silver medal in the U23 road race at the UCI Road World Championships last year behind Switzerland's Marc Hirschi.

Weather conditions were variable in the race on Monday, with some heavy rain showers soaking the roads and some lesser crashes later on but the race staff say they do not know how the fatal crash happened.

Cyclingnews would like to extend its condolences to Bjorg's family, friends and teammates.

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