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The Cycling World Mourns the Passing of Bjorg Lambrecht

By Frantiska Blazkova

The date 5th August 2019 leaves a grim mark on cycling history. After suffering grave injuries during a crash at the Tour de Pologne 2019, Bjorg Lambrecht sadly passed away after being rushed to the hospital, aged only 22.

The Belgian hopeful talent who just started emerging in the field of professional cycling rode under the colours of the Lotto-Soudal team. According to what we know, the crash made him fall off the bike and hit a roadside culvert.

After crashing in the final 100 km of stage three of the Tour de Pologne, Bjorg was taken to the hospital by an ambulance because his state didn’t allow for helicopter transport. The race organizers issued several statements on their official Twitter before they knew that the crash had fatal consequences, stating hopes that: “We’re very sad to report a serious crash for Bjorg Lambrecht of Lotto-Soudal who needed helicopter transport to a hospital following emergency reanimation. We’ll report when we know more, but we hope it’s nothing too serious and are wishing fast recovery.”

Bjorg pictured with silver medal on the second step of the podium after the U23 men road cycling World Championship race, September 28, 2018. © Profimedia, Sipa Press

Lotto-Soudal confirmed Bjorg’s transport to the hospital and released “unofficial information” that the doctors managed to bring his life functions back. Later the same day, Monday 5th August at around 6 PM, the team released a statement, confirming everyone’s worst fears – Bjorg Lambrecht had died.

The team’s statement reads: “The biggest tragedy possible that could happen to family, friends and team-mates of Bjorg has happened.

“Rest in peace Bjorg.”

Many cycling teams and personas expressed condolences and paid respects to the late young rider on their social media. The outpour of solidarity and grief has been tremendous.

CCC Team wrote: “The riders and staff of CCC Team are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Bjorg Lambrecht. Our deepest sympathies go out to Bjorg’s family and friends and the entire Lotto-Soudal team at this incredibly sad time.”

World champion Alejandro Valverde: “Deeply sorry for the loss of Bjorg Lambrecht, a cyclist who had demonstrated a lot in a few years. My deepest condolences to family, friends and team.” Valverde’s team Movistar also released an individual statement: “Sometimes, life is simply not fair. So young with so many things yet to do. All our thoughts are with the family, friends and Lotto-Soudal team-mates of Bjorg Lambrecht. Rest in peace.”

Team INEOS stated on Twitter: “The thoughts of everyone at Team INEOS are with Bjorg’s family, friends and all at Lotto-Soudal. May he rest in peace.”

Pascal Ackermann of the Bora-Hansgrohe team, who eventually ended up winning the Tour de Pologne’s fateful third stage, commented a heart-wrenching message: “Today, the result of the race doesn’t matter. I was devastated to hear today’s tragic news and I would like to personally send my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Bjorg Lambrecht and everyone at Lotto-Soudal.”

The same sentiments were expressed by the Deceuninck – Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevre, after their rider Fabio Jacobsen, who originally had a shot at winning the stage, was relegated. “Disqualification is not important in light of the dramatic news about Bjorg Lambrecht. No words to express my sadness. My condolences to the team, team-mates and family.”

Bjorg pictured during the tenth stage of the ‘Vuelta a Espana’. © Profimedia, AFP

Team Astana posted on social media channels: “It is an enormous tragedy and it is hard to find words to express our sorrow. Bjorg Lambrecht was so young and so talented. This has a huge impact on all of the cycling world. We express our deepest condolences to the family and Lotto-Soudal team.”

Bjorg was riding his second season at WorldTour level and has been one of the Belgian emerging stars. He finished second in the under-23 World Championships 2018 and went on to finish 12th in the Criterium du Dauphine, taking the youth classification in the process.