Belgian cyclo-cross talent Jolien Verschueren died on Thursday at the age of 31 after fighting brain cancer for three years. Verschueren raced for the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal team until 2020.
Verschueren, who balanced a career as a schoolteacher with cyclo-cross, had her best season in 2016 when she won seven races including the Koppenbergcross for the second year in a row. Small and powerful, Verschueren excelled in hillier races. She won a silver medal in the European 'cross championships in the 2015-2016 season.
According to Wielerflits.nl, medical examinations discovered the tumour on her brain in 2015 but doctors determined that no treatment was necessary. In 2018, the tumour had grown and she underwent surgery.
Despite her condition, Verschueren continued to race as late as last October.
The Belgian federation made the announcement, writing, "Everybody at Belgian Cycling is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jolien Verschueren, who passed away last night at the age of 31. Jolien was known for her fighting spirit but more importantly she was a wonderful teammate and friend. Our thoughts are with her family."
Everybody at Belgian Cycling is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Jolien Verschueren, who passed away last night at the age of 31.Jolien was known for her fighting spirit but more importantly she was a wonderful teammate and friend.Our thoughts are with her family. pic.twitter.com/4mH0yJHsgvJuly 2, 2021
Much too early, we have to say goodbye to Jolien Verschueren. 😢Liv Racing wishes family and friends lots of strength and courage in this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/98Tq8Rtt1AJuly 2, 2021
Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of @BelCycling cyclo-cross rider, Jolien Verschueren. Her talent and dedication for cyclo-cross led her to compete at the highest level and she will be a great loss to the whole community. RIP. pic.twitter.com/IJrNRzUegaJuly 2, 2021
We are profoundly saddened to learn the passing of the courageous Jolien Verschueren, 31. The entire Tormans CX team sends their thoughts of compassion to Jolien's family and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/CXKLaz5oefJuly 2, 2021
Our condolences go out to Jolien Verschueren & her family. In her career, Verschueren won ten cyclocross races, a second place at the European Championship 2015 was her greatest achievement. Professionally she was a kindergarten teacher. https://t.co/ocMornAHCZJuly 2, 2021
Sometimes there are no words …Have a safe trip up there, brave Jolien. We hope there’s a Koppenberg waiting in heaven for you too 🙏Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jolien. pic.twitter.com/EHiywT0JsGJuly 2, 2021
Oud deepest condolences for the family and friends of Jolien VerschuerenWay to young, she will be missed in Belgian cyclocross which she gave colour and emotion... https://t.co/8J6CNxf6jEJuly 2, 2021
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