/ Cycling

Belgian cyclist Antoine Demoitie dies after race collision in France

Updated: Monday, 28 Mar 2016 19:42 | Comments

Antoine Demoitie was just 25 years old
Antoine Demoitie was just 25 years old

Belgian cyclist Antoine Demoitie has died after an accident in yesterday's stage of the Genk-Wevelgem classic, his team have announced.

The Wanty-Gobert rider was reportedly involved in a collision with a motorbike and several other competitors in northern France before being taken to hospital.

The 25-year-old was placed in an intensive care unit in a Lille hospital but Wanty-Gobert confirmed his death early this morning.

The team's official Twitter page showed a photograph of the cyclist with the words "Antoine Demoitie (1990-2016)" and said a statement would be released later in the day.

Irish rider Dan Martin tweeted: "Horrible tragic news to wake up to. The cycling family has lost a brother."

A team statement on Twitter read: "Thanks for your overwhelming support. The team is touched by all the messages. We will bounce back and #RideForAntoine."

Two-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome paid tribute to Mr Demoitie on social media, saying: "So sad to hear of the passing of Antoine Demoitie. Condolences to his friends and family."

Mark Cavendish, on his official Twitter account, said: "Such tragic news. RIP Antoine Demoitie. My thoughts and condolences are with your family, friends and teammates."

The 243km, one-day race was won by Peter Sagan of Slovakia while Briton Lizzie Armitstead finished 17th in the women's race which was won by her Boels Dolmans team-mate Chantal Blaak.

A statement from Gianni Bugno, the president of the Professional Cyclists Association (CPA), called for lessons to be learned after the tragic death of Demoitie.

Mr Bugno said: "About the terrible accident that caused the death of the rider Antoine Demoitie during the Gent-Wevelgem race, the CPA and all the riders demand to shed immediate light on the accident and the circumstances that have caused it as well as on any of the responsible involved parties.

"At this time of sadness and sorrow for the death of Antoine we do not want to make controversy, but we have so much frustration inside.

"We have always stated that the safety of the riders must be in first place in the discussions of the cycling stakeholders and at the last CCP meeting we specifically asked to communicate the strategies to improve security during the races.

"I do not want to accuse anyone but (I want to) make everyone reflect on the responsibility we have to ensure that a very high level of attention, awareness and control over safety standards during each race is maintained."

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