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Tributes for cyclist Michael Goolaerts

The Connexion, Apr 9

Tributes have been paid to Belgian cyclist Michael Goolaerts, who died on Sunday after crashing in Paris-Roubaix.

The 23-year-old who was a rider for the Veranda's Willems-Crelan team fell on the second set of cobbles during the one-day classic in northern France. It was his first attempt at the senior Paris-Roubaix, though he had competed in the under-23 edition in 2015.

He suffered cardiac arrest and was airlifted to hospital in Lille but died late on Sunday night.

"It is with unimaginable sadness that we have to communicate the passing of our rider and friend Michael Goolaerts," the team said in a statement, adding that the rider died "in the presence of his family members and loved ones, who we keep in our thoughts".

Two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador said: "My deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Michael Goolaerts, since the end of the race I have not stopped thinking about him."

Team Sky said in a statement: "Everyone at Team Sky is heartbroken by the loss of Michael Goolaerts. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and all at Veranda's Willems-Crelan."

Race doctors found Goolaerts unconscious following the crash that occurred 109km into the 257km race. Television footage showed him receiving CPR treatment at the side of the road.

David Lappartient, president of cycling's world governing body the UCI, said: "On behalf of the UCI and the cycling family as a whole, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family, team and loved ones of Michael Goolaerts, who left too early."

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