Tragic Goolaerts ’great loss to cycling’

Belgian cyclist Michael Goolaerts, who died aged 23 after suffering cardiac arrest during Paris-Roubaix, is a “great loss to cycling”, says former team-mate James Shaw.

Tragic Goolaerts ’great loss to cycling’

The Veranda’s Willems-Crelan rider crashed on the second set of cobbles in the one-day classic in northern France on Sunday.

The 23-year-old had been airlifted to hospital in Lille after receiving CPR at the roadside following the crash on the 257-kilometre race but he died that night.

“I’d have loved to have said thank you to him for helping me out,” said Shaw. “I never thought I’d never get that opportunity.”

British rider Shaw, 21, rode with Goolaerts for the Lotto-Soudal under-23 team in 2015 and both were trainees with the Belgian outfit’s senior team in 2016.

“He’s a great loss to cycling,” Shaw told BBC Radio 5 Live. “He was a cracking person, always the one to break the silence with a smile, always the one to laugh if it ever went quiet at the dinner table. He was one of the most pleasant people to be around I’d ever met.”

Nairo Quintana, a previous winner of the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta, tweeted: “Upset about the death of Michael Goolaerts today in #ParisRoubaix. Strength to his family, friends and team.”

Fabian Cancellara, a three-time winner of Paris-Roubaix, wrote on social media: “Terrible news.... RIP Michael Goolaerts. My deep condolences going to his family, friends, and Teammates and the @Snipercycling crew.”

Alberto Contador, twice winner of the Tour de France, wrote on Twitter: “My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Michael Goolaerts, since the end of the race I have not stopped thinking about him.”

The cause of Goolaerts’ cardiac arrest is not yet determined.

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