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Jolien Verschueren dies at 31

Jolien Verschueren
Jolien Verschueren (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

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."

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