"His heart started beating again but he sadly died during the operation," race director Czeslaw Lang told the BBC of Bjorg Lambrecht

By Jen Juneau
August 06, 2019 10:59 AM
Justin Setterfield/Getty

A Belgian cyclist has died after a tragic crash at the Tour de Pologne.

Bjorg Lambrecht, 22, “had a moment of hesitation” and “left the asphalt” during Stage 3 of the race — about 30 miles from the starting point in Chorzow, Poland, and 60 from the end in Zabrze — when “the tragedy occurred,” the race’s director Czeslaw Lang told the BBC.

“It wasn’t a high-speed descent. It was a straight and wide road,” Lang explained.

Lambrecht had “injuries [that] were so serious that we called for a helicopter and an ambulance,” he added, sharing that the athlete “was transported to [the] hospital” for surgery.

“His heart started beating again but he sadly died during the operation,” Lang said.

Bjorg Lambrecht
Tour de Pologne
Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty

Lambrecht was an accomplished rider who, among his many achievements, took second place in 2017’s Tour de l’Avenir against Egan Bernal, a Colombian rider who won the Tour de France just last month.

He also placed second in the 2018 U23 World Championships, first in the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné’s young rider classification and more, including multiple first-place finishes since his 2015 Belgian national junior championship.

In an interview ahead of the seven-stage Polish race on Monday, Lambrecht said he was in high spirits and hoped to be in “good condition to make some good results here with the team, and for me.”

The late athlete’s team, Lotto-Soudal, said in a statement posted to their Twitter account, “The biggest tragedy possible that could happen to the family, friends and teammates of Bjorg has happened … Rest in peace Bjorg … ❤️”

Bjorg Lambrecht
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Many of Lambrecht’s teammates and fellow competitors expressed their sadness over his tragic death on social media, including the race’s Stage 3 victor, Germany’s Pascal Ackermann.

“Today, the result of the race doesn’t matter,” said Ackermann, 25, on Instagram and in a statement shared to his team’s Twitter feed. “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.”

Lambrecht’s team shared a letter to his fans on their website Tuesday, where they remembered the cyclist’s “playful determination,” “work ethic” and “humility” among his professional accomplishments.

“All riders and staff of Lotto Soudal would sincerely like to thank everybody for their expressions of sympathy in the usually hard (top-level sports) world,” the letter concluded. “But in the first place, our thoughts go out to the parents, family and friends of Bjorg, who have to endure the greatest burden, a life without Bjorg.”