"Antoine Demoitié passed away last night after a terrible accident in Gent-Wevelgem. The entire team is in disbelief, shock, angry and sad because of the loss of Antoine. Our thoughts go out to his wife, family and friends," the team said in a press release on Monday morning.
Demoitié crashed with four other riders in Sainte-Marie-Cappel with 115 kilometres remaining, during the race’s brief loop across the border into France. As Demoitié lay on the ground, he was then reportedly struck by a following race motorbike.
Demoitié was initially taken to hospital in Ypres, before being quickly transferred to the intensive care unit of the university hospital in Lille due to the gravity of his condition.
After Gent-Wevelgem finished on Sunday evening, the Wanty-Groupe Gobert team issued an update on social media describing Demoitié’s condition as “extremely serious” and reporting that his wife and family had come to the hospital in Lille.
Shortly after midnight local time, AFP and Directvelo.com reported that Demoitié had died as a result of his injuries. "The rider died. An inquiry is under way to determine the circumstances," Frederic Evrard, a spokesman for the Nord-Pas-de-Calais regional gendarmerie in France, told AFP.
A native of Liège, Demoitié signed for Wanty-Groupe Gobert during the winter after spending three seasons at the Wallonie-Bruxelles team. His most notable victory came at the Tour du Finistère in 2014. Demoitié had begun the 2016 season well, placing third on the opening stage of Etoile des Bessèges and second at Dorpenomloop Rucphen two weeks ago.
- Riders, teammates and friends pay tribute to Antoine Demoitie
- Weekend Wrap: Tragedy at Gent-Wevelgem
- Antoine Demoitie will be truly missed, says UCI president Brian Cookson
- CPA calls for improved safety standards following death of Demoitie
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