The Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht has died after crashing at the Tour of Poland.
The 22-year-old Lotto-Soudal rider is understood to have fallen into a concrete culvert about 60 miles from the end of Monday’s stage from Chorzow to Zabrze. He was taken by helicopter to hospital after being resuscitated at the scene but died while having surgery.
Confirming the news, Lambrecht’s team said: “The biggest tragedy possible that could happen to the family, friends and teammates of Bjorg has happened. Rest in peace Bjorg.” Germany’s Pascal Ackermann won the stage but said: “The result doesn’t matter.”
Lambrecht had secured a series of strong finishes during one-day classics in the spring and was named the most promising youngster in June’s Critérium du Dauphiné, a traditional preparatory event for the Tour de France.
He also won the under-23 version of the Liège-Bastogne-Liège race in 2017 and finished second in the under-23 world championships last year.
The Tour of Poland added: “There are no words to describe this tragedy. Bjorg Lambrecht passed away following an accident on today’s stage. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, team and the whole cycling community.”
Lambrecht was competing in his second season on the world tour and had been regarded as one of his nation’s most promising young talents.
He had finished fifth in Brabantse Pijl earlier this year, following up with sixth in Amstel Gold Race and fourth in Flèche Wallone.
With the world of cycling in mourning, the world champion Alejandro Valverde said: “I am deeply sorry for the loss of Bjorg Lambrecht, a cyclist who had promised a lot in a few years. My deepest condolences to family, friends and team.”
Valverde’s Movistar team added: “Sometimes, life is simply not fair. So young with so many things yet to do. All our thoughts are with the family, friends and Lotto-Soudal teammates of Bjorg Lambrecht. Rest in peace.”