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It was the event everyone feared might happen: A professional cyclist has died after being struck by a race motorcycle.
According to AFP, Belgian Antoine Demoitié of Wanty-Groupe Gobert succumbed to injuries Sunday evening at a hospital in Lille, France, after he was struck hours earlier during Gent-Wevelgem. It said that the news was confirmed by police.
“The rider died. An inquiry is under way to determine the circumstances,” said Frederic Evrard, spokesman for the Nord-Pas-de-Calais regional gendarmerie in France.
The agency earlier reported that the 25-year-old Belgian had crashed, and was then run over by a race motorcycle.
And while the race moto was not responsible for Demoitié’s crash, his subsequent injuries were apparently caused by it following too closely.
Demoitié won the 2014 Tour du Finistère and last year was second in both the Handzame Classic and the GP Stad Zottegem. He was also third in the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise (’15)
His death is the most extreme case in a growing trend of these kinds of incidents.
Earlier this season, Lotto-Soudal’s Stig Broeckx was stuck by a motorcycle at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, abandoning the race with a broken collarbone and rib. That same weekend, at La Drôme Classic, BMC’s Danilo Wyss was also struck by a race moto while contesting for victory.
In 2015, the list of riders injured by race motos was extensive: Tinkoff riders Peter Sagan and Sergio Paulinho, both at the Vuelta a España; Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) at Clásica San Sebastián; and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) at the Tour de France.
At the 2015 Ronde van Vlaanderen, Shimano neutral service cars took out both Jesse Sergent (Trek) and Sébastien Chavanel (FDJ).
This latest crash has had more serious consequences. His passing is tragic for his family and friends, his team-mates and the whole cycling community.
Click through to read an earlier report on CyclingTips We extend our condolences to all who knew Antoine Demoitié.