Belgian Espoir coach Jean-Pierre Dubois has spoken about the tragic loss of Daan Myngheer, the rider who suffered a heart attack during Saturday’s opening stage of the Criterium International in Corsica, and who died on Monday evening.
He said that that Myngheer had previously-known health issues and had undergone heart examinations, but that nothing amiss was found.
“He’s always been very honest about that,” said Dubois to HLN.be, referring to his medical issues. “Daan had problems with his blood pressure, and took medication. He was suffering from an excessive loss of salt during strenuous exercise. This resulted in a decrease in the blood pressure and also a decrease its performance.”
He said that he was able to cope with races of up to four and a half hours, but after that point things became difficult. “Therefore he could not become a pro at Topsport Vlaanderen, he had no contract.
“That problem seemed now under control with medication. His death hits me hard, like that of Antoine [Demoitié, another Belgian rider who was killed when hit by a motorbike in Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem – ed.].
“We knew since Saturday it did not go well with Daan. I can only wish much strength to his friends and family. This is another black day.”
The 22 year old raced with the EFC Omega Pharma-Quick Step youth team in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Team leader Michel Pollentier remembers him as a friendly rider with a big heart. He gave his sympathies to his family.
“Its true that he also had health problems in the past,” he said. “In 2014 he had problems in the Breton Kreiz-Breih race. He could hardly breathe and was transferred by helicopter to the hospital. A sudden drop in blood pressure was the explanation.
“Two weeks later, he felt it again during the BK [Belgian championships – ed.] and he dropped off prematurely. Also a while later when he rode in a race in the leading group. We asked for him to be screened in the hospital in Aalst. He was given the green light by the cardiologists, there were no problems observed with his heart.”
He said that he left the team in 2015 to race for the Verandas Willems team. According to Pollentier, his exit from the EFC Omega Pharma-Quick Step squad was partly due to the problems he had been having. “We did not want to take the risk.
“He has been undergoing tests, no abnormalities were identified, and last year he had no problems.”
It has not been proven that those previous issues were related to his passing, but his past problems assume a new significance after Saturday’s tragedy. He was racing the Criterium International as part of the French Continental team Roubaix–Lille Métropole.
Pollentier said that Myngheer’s passing would be a huge loss for his family and girlfriend. “We will always remember Daan as a fine boy who was liked by everyone.”