The cycling community has expressed its grief after 19-year-old Stefan Loos was killed in the Alfred Gadenne Grand Prix in Belgium.
The teenager died in hospital from severe brain trauma and internal injuries after he was hit by a van after being sent the wrong way during the race.
The cycling community in Belgium suffered a devastating loss with the passing of Stef Loos. The thoughts of everyone at Belgian Cycling are with his family, friends and team-mates at this sad time. pic.twitter.com/1E6GO0SX20
— Belgian Cycling (@BELCycling) March 18, 2019
The accident happened around 25 kilometres into the race when 30 riders were sent straight, when the course turned right, meaning the route wasn’t protected by rolling road closures.
Loos, and two other riders were hit when they crossed an intersection.
Jef Roberts, Chairman of Loos’ Acrog-Pauwels Sauzen-Balen team, said: “Very tragic news. Our rider Stef Loos, a promising rider with the team, was the victim of a severe accident.”
“A group of three riders was sent incorrectly by a signalman,” he added.
“At a crossroads that wasn’t secured, they were driven into the side by a van.”
After a terrible accident yesterday, the Belgian U23 rider Stef Loos (19 years) passed away. We want to express our deepest condolences to his family, friends and the whole Acrog Pauwels team. Our @LS_U23 rider @Ruben_Apers was also badly injured, but he is out of danger now. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/tddQJTW7Vp
— Lotto Soudal (@Lotto_Soudal) March 18, 2019
So sad. RIP Stef Loos 🙁 https://t.co/RnupK3DqPh
— Uitgever Culinaire Tour (@CulinaireTour) March 18, 2019
Roberts continued: “Stef had been with us for years and was very popular.”
Deceuninck — Quick-Step cyclist Remco Evenepoel said: “Rest in peace, my friend. Sometimes terrible things just happen to the wrong people.”
Ruben Apers, who rides for the Lotto-Soudal under-23 team, needed surgery after fracturing his thigh and collarbone, with Jonas Bresslers also needing treatment for injuries sustained in the crash.
Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reports police have opened an investigation into the circumstances of the crash.
It comes less than a week after another young rider died in the USA while preparing for a race in California.
Nineteen-year-old Tate Meintjes was inspecting the time trial course for the Redlands Bicycle Classic when a car made a U-turn into his path and he was unable to avoid it.