Michael Goolaerts dies in hospital after suffering cardiac arrest at Paris-Roubaix

TV cameras drove past the incident with Goolaerts lying seemingly motionless at the side of the road, where he received emergency CPR.

Goolaerts was initially stated to be in a "life-threatening condition after suffering a cardiac arrest" in an earlier statement by race organisers.

At the 110km point of the 257km race, Goolaerts was pictured receiving medical attention after seemingly being involved in a crash and the Belgian was airlifted to hospital.

I think Paris-Roubaix has to be the toughest race because you have the terrain - there are anything between 52 and 55 kilometres of cobbles over the course of around 260 kilometres.

A statement read: "It is with unimaginable sadness that we have to communicate the passing of our rider and friend Michael Goolaerts. We share their huge sadness", he posted on Twitter.

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"It's really nice to win this race with the world champion jersey. Such a sad news ...", Sagan wrote on Twitter. Goolaerts hadn't raced it before and crashed in the second of the course's 29 cobblestone sections, which make up about 20% of the course, while making a right-hand turn.

There have been numerous deaths among professional cyclists while competing in recent years, including others by cardiac arrest.

Two years ago, Belgian cyclist Daan Myngheer, died at the age of 22, two days after having a heart attack on the Criterium International in Corsica.

World champion Peter Sagan outsprinted Silvan Dillier to the finish line to win the prestigious Paris-Roubaix race, known as the Queen of Classics, for the first time on Sunday.

Belgian Wouter Weylandt, a stage victor at the Vuelta a Espana and Giro d'Italia, died instantly when he hit a guard rail in the third stage at the 2011 Giro.

  • Lawrence Cooper