Fears for Belgian cyclist Goolaerts after fall in Paris-Roubaix classic

Kristopher Nichols
April 9, 2018

Belgian rider Michael Goolaerts has died of cardiac arrest after collapsing while competing in the Paris-Roubaix one-day classic.

"He passed away on Sunday evening at 22.40 in Lille Hospital in the presence of his family members and loved ones, who we keep in our thoughts", said his team, Veranda's Willems-Crelan, on Twitter.

Race organizers confirmed in a medical statement that the 23-year-old Goolaerts "suffered a cardiac arrest" during the race and was hospitalized in Lille.

TV cameras drove past the incident with Goolaerts lying seemingly motionless at the side of the road, where he received emergency CPR.

Goolaerts rode in support of cyclo-cross world champion Wout van Aert of Belgium in the race dubbed the "Hell of the North" because of the hard terrain it covers.

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In sunny and warm conditions in northern France, the triple world champion, who rides for Bora-Hansgrohe, broke clear of the main pack in pursuit of the three riders who remained from the group of nine that had taken an early lead with 200km remaining. "I'm exhausted after this race but not as exhausted as in previous years when I didn't win it for some reasons", Sagan said.

Paris-Roubaix is one of the five Monument classics with Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Tour of Lombardy. "I attacked at the right moment and I kept going until the finish".

The Slovakian accelerated 55 km from the finish line at the Roubaix Velodrome to catch the day's breakaway riders and get rid of the strongest of them, Swiss Silvan Dillier, in a sprint finish.

"Amazing. I'm so exhausted after this race. I've done my best", Sagan said.

The 257-kilometer race is also known as the "Hell of the North" because of its treacherous profile including 54.5 kilometers of cobblestones spread over 29 sectors.

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