Belgian professional cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht died this afternoon after he crashed during the third stage of the Tour de Pologne. The Lotto-Soudal rider was 22 years old.
The circumstances of Lambrecht’s fall aren’t clear: Early reports claimed he crashed into a concrete culvert, but race organizers said they don’t yet know exactly what caused the crash. The stage was a flat run across southern Poland from Chorzow to Zabrze, and organizers say Lambrecht was the only rider to fall on the “completely flat” road. Weather may have played a part, as it was quite rainy today. One anonymous rider reportedly said that Lambrecht had his hand raised calling for help shortly before he fell.
“We tried to give a heart massage just afterwards, then we called for a helicopter but his condition was so serious it wasn’t able to transport him,” race doctor Ryszard Wisniewski said. Lambrecht was taken to a hospital in an ambulance, where he did not survive emergency surgery.
Lambrecht was one of the most promising young riders in the world. He had just taken best young rider at the Critérium du Dauphiné, he once finished second behind Egan Bernal at the Tour de l’Avenir, and he came close to finishing on the podium of several prestigious one-day races this spring. Lotto-Soudal extended his professional contract in June, and he looked destined for a productive pro career. Lambrecht’s team is reportedly considering pulling out of the race, and Tour de Pologne organizers may cancel the last four stages, though Cycling News reports “it does seem that the race will continue for now.”