The young racing cyclist, Michael Goolaerts, died on Sunday evening in hospital in Lille. The announcement came from his team, Véranda’s Willems-Crelan. He had been taken to hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest during the 116th Paris-Roubaix race, in which he was competing for the first time. Originally from the Campine region, he was 23.
His team’s communiqué begins, “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our racer and friend, Michael Goolaerts.” The communiqué further states, “He passed away at 10.40 p.m. in hospital in Lille surrounded by his family and his loved ones, to whom we now extend our thoughts and sympathies. He died following a cardiac arrest despite receiving all available medical assistance.”
“There will be no other team communications for now, as we wish to give Michael’s loved ones time to grieve his tragic loss. We thank you in advance for respecting their privacy.”
On Sunday, during the Paris-Roubaix race, Goolaerts fell in the paved sector within France’s Viesly commune. The racer was resuscitated by the cycling course medical team and the emergency services, before being airlifted by helicopter to the Lille University Hospital.
A professional since last season with the Véranda’s Willems-Crelan team, Goolaerts had finished 9th in the A Travers La Flandre Occidentale (West Flanders cycling competition) on March 4th. His profile was further raised last Sunday, during the Tour des Flandres (a race throughout Flanders) with his first major breakaway from the pack over 100 kilometres.