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by Shane Stokes
April 10, 2018
Retired pro Meersman reflects on passing of Goolaerts plus his own heart issues; Colbrelli chasing second win in Brabantse Pijl; Israel Cycling Academy team names first three riders to Giro d’Italia lineup; Professor Xavier Bigard joins the UCI as Medical Director; In new C7 jacket, Gore Wear combines ShakeDry fabric with stretch technology; Video: Paris-Roubaix, peloton view; Video: First ride and review vlog: Campagnolo 12 Speed Groupset
Following the tragic death of young rider Michael Goolaerts during Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, former pro Gianni Meersman has commented on his own heart issues. The Belgian was racing for QuickStep in 2016 and won two stages in the Vuelta a Espana, but was forced to walk away from the sport soon afterwards.
“When I heard that Michael had a given a cardiac arrest, I was thinking a lot about boy,” he said, according to Sporza. “I had to think of Michael’s family and friends yesterday, and I thought, ‘it is good I never experienced that myself. If such a thing happens, I am glad that I myself have taken the step to stop with top sport.”
According to the Cambrai public prosecutor’s office, Goolaerts had heart failure prior to his crash in Paris-Roubaix. Paramedics tried to revive him and he was transported to hospital, but he passed away on Sunday evening. “There is so much screening. It is a pity that something like this could happen to Michael Goolaerts,” said Meersman. “I was lucky that I had received a warning, Michael did not. It was a French doctor who came to the conclusion that I would be better to quit racing, and Belgian doctors had a different opinion. For me it was an easy decision to stop racing. Top sport is nice, but it’s not worth it to risk everything.”
Meersman said that ten or 15 years ago, there were perhaps twice as many riders with heart problems. “Now everyone is screened so much, it’s a pity that something like that happened to that boy,” he said. “I’m in favour of doing a big heart scan every year, even with young riders.”
Belgian cycling federation doctor Kris Van der Mieren noted that the screenings can identify two types of heart issues. The first are congenital disorders, problems there from birth, while the second are acquired disorders such as heart muscle inflammations.
Click through to read the full article at Sporza.