It has been a dark Easter weekend for the sport of cycling, which has been left to mourn the death of not one but two professional riders in the space of two cruel days.
Almost 24 hours after it was announced that Antoine Demoitié had died of injuries sustained in a crash and motorbike collision at Gent-Wevelgem, news broke that Daan Myngheer, comatose and fighting for his life after suffering a heart attack at the Criterium International on Saturday, had passed away also.
As was the case with Demoitié, tributes for the 22-year-old flowed in from riders, teams, and friends across social media, with many expressing their sadness, paying their respects to the Belgian's loved ones, and simply trying to come to terms with a devastating couple of days.
"We will never forget you, Daan. Rest in peace, champion," read the message of Myngheer's team, Roubaix Lille Métropole, on Twitter, accompanied by a black and white image of the rider.
Daan nous ne t'oublierons jamais ! Repose en paix Champion pic.twitter.com/lqv7AayKXj— Team RLM (@TeamRLM) March 29, 2016
Elsewhere, numerous messages were posted by fellow riders.
Such a terribly sad few days in the professional cycling world. Another tragic loss. RIP Daan Myngheer. My thoughts are with your loved ones— Mark Cavendish (@MarkCavendish) March 29, 2016
It's a dark couple of days for cycling. Another one gone far before his time. R.I.P Daan Myngheer— SamBewley (@SamBewley) March 29, 2016
What a sad time. Another young champ is gone. RIP Daan. I wish your family, friends and teammates a lot of strength. https://t.co/IosaZBBfIe— Marcel Kittel (@marcelkittel) March 29, 2016
Dark pages for cycling. A whole life and career in front of him. So unfair! RIP Daan. Thoughts are with your Family and friends.— Sebastian Langeveld (@sebaslangeveld) March 29, 2016
Messages of support also came in from the French-speaking cycling community.
"RIP Daan. My condolences to his family and loved ones. A nightmarish weekend for cycling," said the Etixx-QuickStep rider Maxime Bouet, while Direct Energie rider Fabrice Jeandesboz added: "Dramatic weekend for cycling... My thoughts are with their loved ones. RIP."
After many called for action to be taken with regards to race vehicles and rider safety in the wake of Demoitié's death, Sam Dumoulin repeated calls for action to be taken to prevent any such tragedies ever repeating themselves in the future.
"Another difficult thing to wake up to," he wrote on Twitter. "Two deaths for different reasons to which we must find solutions: Let's do something about it! RIP Daan Myngheer."
I have no words for this... #DaanMyngheer— zico waeytens (@ZicoWaeytens) March 29, 2016
When winning the race is not important anymore. We lost to young people. That hurts. Condolences for both family's, teams and friends.— Patrick Lefevere (@PatLefevere) March 29, 2016
My sport is a hard sport and sometimes a cruel sport but it should never be about life and death. We lost Daan Myngheer now too, I'm so sad.— Koen de Kort (@koendekort) March 29, 2016
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