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Riders, teammates and friends pay tribute to Antoine Demoitie

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Antoine Demoitie tragically died after an accident in Gent-Wevelgem

Antoine Demoitie tragically died after an accident in Gent-Wevelgem
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Antoine Demoitie died after the 2016 Gent-Wevelgem

Antoine Demoitie died after the 2016 Gent-Wevelgem (Image credit: Wanty-Groupe Gobert)

News of the death of Antoine Demoitié, who was hit by a race motorbike at Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, broke in the early hours of Monday morning, and many in the cycling world took to social channels to express their sadness and offer their condolences. 

Sep Vanmarcke, who finished second at the race behind Peter Sagan, was among the riders who paid tribute to the 25-year-old Belgian. 

"Suddenly a 2nd place no longer important after this terrible news," he wrote on Twitter. "Rest in peace Antoine Demoitié. Good luck to all."

Tom Devriendt, Kenny Dehaes, Gaetan Bille and Mark McNally were among the Wanty-Groupe Gobert riders to post messages on Monday and were joined by riders from a range of teams and nationalities. 

Race vehicles and rider safety

As well as expressing their sadness at Demoitié's death, many riders also called for action to be taken to enhance rider safety. It is an issue that has become increasingly pressing over the past couple of years, with an alarming string of accidents involving riders and in-race vehicles. 

Peter Sagan, Taylor Phinney, Greg Van Avermaet, Sergio Paulinho, Jakob Fuglsang, Jesse Sergent, Sylvain Chavanel, and Stig Broeckx are just some of the riders who have been injured - to varying degrees - in incidents involving motorbikes or cars.

"Regulations on motos in races are needed NOW," wrote Alberto Contador on Twitter, and his sentiments were echoed by his Tinkoff teammate Mick Rogers, who posted a picture of Viacheslav Kuznetsov surrounded by vehicles at Gent-Wevelgem.

One measure suggested by Rogers was to impose a speed limit on in-race vehicles when passing riders, the idea being that it would give drivers more time to react to hazards. 

"Cap moto speed to 15-20km/h faster than peloton when passing = increased reaction time when unexpected happens," wrote the Australian.

His thoughts were echoed by Frenchman Warren Barguil in a Twitter exchange with Dan Martin and Carlos Verona (Etixx-QuickStep), with the Spaniard also calling for a reduction in the number of vehicles and more stringent processes before drivers are allowed into a race.