The fourth stage of the cycling tour “Tour of Poland” began with a moment of silence in memory of the racer Borg Lambrecht, who died the day before. The start was formal, the athletes traveled a reduced distance, and the Peloton was led by the Lotto Soudal team, for which the 22-year-old Belgian played. All entertainment events traditionally associated with the competition were canceled.
“We would like to honor his memory with a stage without any competition. We will calmly overcome the distance to the finish line. Today, results, time indicators and usual rules will not be recorded. Thank you for being with us, ”announced the director of the Tour of Poland Cheslav Lag before the start of the race.
The tragedy occurred at 48 km of the third stage of the stage race. The start of the race was calm, but then heavy rain began. The episode with the fall of Lambrecht did not fall into the lenses of television cameras, so the incident was only known from the words of the organizers of the race.
The athlete walked a wide section of the road, not difficult, but at some point he lost concentration, drove off the asphalt highway and crashed into a concrete pipe, receiving serious head injuries.
At the scene of the accident, doctors immediately arrived who tried to give him first aid. The Belgian was supposed to be delivered by helicopter to the nearest hospital, but his condition did not allow this. He was sent there in an ambulance.
Upon arrival at the hospital, Lambrecht's condition was assessed as critical, he required surgical intervention. For a short while, doctors managed to restore his heart. However, after some time he died on the operating table.
“We were all incredibly shocked by this tragedy. Our feelings cannot be described in words. I sincerely condole with the Björg family, his team and the entire cycling community, and again express our full support. We will forever remember Lambrecht as an exceptional cyclist and a wonderful person, ”the statement said on the official website of the Tour of Poland.
At the moment, it is not known what exactly provoked the fall of the Belgian on a rather slow section of the route. One of the participants of the Tour of Poland, whose name is not called, suggested that during the race he had health problems. According to him, the athlete tried to call for help, raising one hand up, but no one responded to the request.
For Lambrecht, this season was the second on a professional level. In 2018, he signed his first contract with Lotto Soudal. He was called the rising star of cycling for some reason: in his age category he managed to achieve serious success by winning the silver medal of the World Junior Championship in 2018 and becoming the winner of the prestigious Liège-Baston-Liège and “Criterium Define” competitions in the U-23 category. Many noted his talent and love for cycling and predicted victories in the races of the Grand Tours.
“Incredibly sad day”
The world of cycling was struck by the death of a 22-year-old athlete. Condolences to his family were expressed by teams, functionaries, current racers and stars of the past. Alejandro Valverde, Fabian Cancellara, Geraint Thomas, Marc Cavendish and many others did not stand aside from the tragedy.
“Today is an incredibly sad day for Poland and for the world of cycling. We mentally support and sympathize with the family of Borg Lambrecht, his friends and teammates. Rest in peace. May your star continue to shine as brightly as it shone in cycling, ”wrote 2011 world champion Mark Cavendish.
The winner of the fateful stage, Pascal Ackermann, noted that after what happened, his success ceased to have any meaning for him.
“I was devastated by this tragic news. “I would like to personally convey my deepest condolences to the family of Borg Lambrecht and to everyone at Lotto Soudal,” quotes the German Cyclingnews.
Particularly hard loss of a friend was given to the riders of the Belgian team. Many of them noted that the world has lost not only a talented racer, but also a good person who was always ready to help.
“Borg, remember? Two weeks ago in training with the team I was so hard physically and psychologically that I could not cope with the pace of the group and fell behind. You turned, pulled up to me and said: "We will do it together." Glad I was your teammate for these two years. I will cherish all the wonderful moments connected with you, ”wrote the Belgian Victor Campenarts.
Representatives of Lotto Soudal share memories related to Lambrecht on their social media pages.
“I remember, I had to take his wallet from the coffee houses in which he constantly forgot it, I remember how we tried to determine the location of his phone, which he left somewhere. And now the Matchbox (nickname Lambrecht. - RT ) left us. He was a good guy, ”said Australian Adam Hansen.
Fatalities during cycling competitions are far from uncommon. The last tragedy dates back to last year, when the athlete Vérandas Willems-Crelan Michael Golarts died on the 109th kilometer one-day Paris-Roubaix. An autopsy showed that the cause of death was a heart attack that a 23-year-old Belgian suffered shortly before the fall.