Wanty-Gobert rider Demoitié in ‘very serious condition’ after being hit by motorbike in Gent-Wevelgem

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Today’s Gent-Wevelgem Classic has been hit by tragedy after Belgian rider Antoine Demoitié was hit by a motorbike and severely injured during the race.

According to Agence France Presse, the 25-year-old crashed, and was then run over by a race motorcycle.

While the race moto was not responsible for Demoitié’s crash, his subsequent injuries were caused by the collision.

His team communicated the news via Twitter.

It then revealed that he was in very bad condition.

A subsequent Tweet by fellow pro rider David Boucher (FDJ) saying that he had passed was picked up by Belgian publication HLN.be. However this was subsequently denied by the Wanty team.

It said that while the situation was a very difficult one and that his wife and family were with him in the hospital in Lille, that his treatment was ongoing.

Demoitié’s serious injury 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).

The UCI has faced calls to improve safety and to tackle such incidents.

TV commentator Anthony McCrossan has highlighted what he says is a problem with too many motorbikes.

However, according to Dutch journalist Raymond Kerckhoffs, internet condemnation of the motorbike in question may be unfounded.

[Translation: According to witnesses the motorbike driver is not to blame, so let’s not be premature in notification of errors of motorcyclists.]

It is unclear if he is saying the driver did not cause the initial crash which brought down Demoitié, or if the subsequent impact was not his fault.

Full details will emerge in time: for now, the cycling world hopes for a full recovery by the Belgian.

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