Kraków, Poland – 22-year-old Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht has died after crashing approximately halfway through stage 3 of the Tour de Pologne. Early reports say that the young Belgian climber crashed into a concrete culvert. No other rider was reportedly involved.
Race organisers said he had undergone “emergency reanimation” before being rushed to hospital in Rybnik by ambulance, where he died during surgery. Lambrecht’s condition meant that he was unable to travel by helicopter.
According to Cycling News, race doctor Ryszard Wisniewski was quoted as saying, “we don’t know why he fell, it was on a totally flat road. We tried to give a heart massage just afterwards, then we called for a helicopter but his condition was so serious it wasn’t able to transport him.
“We did more reanimation there where he was and then took him to the hospital by ambulance. More reanimation was done on the way to the hospital, but he died during the operation there in the hospital,” Wisniewski added.
After confirmation of Lambrecht’s death, his team Lotto-Soudal posted on Twitter: “The biggest tragedy possible that could happen to family, friends and team-mates of Bjorg has happened. Rest in peace Bjorg.”
Race director Czeslaw Lang confirmed the death in a short speech from the usual winners podium: “We are all incredibly shaken by this tragedy. Words fail to describe the emotions that we’re all feeling. I share the pain with Bjorg’s family, his team and all members of the cycling community. At the same time I reiterate our full support. Bjorg Lambrecht will forever remain in our memories as an exceptional cyclist and a great man”.
The race organisers, the jury and the teams made the decision to neutralize the 4th stage of the Tour de Pologne out of respect to the Belgian rider, and all the associated events that had been planned for the day have been cancelled in commemoration.
Bjorg Lambrecht had high hopes for the Tour de Pologne after taking a break after the Critérium du Dauphiné, where he finished 12th and won the best young rider classification. According to Cycling News, he was one of the most promising riders of his generation, having won the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège and taken second in the Tour de l’Avenir, Giro Ciclistico della Valle d’Aosta Mont Blanc, Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc and Ronde de l’Isard in 2017. He won the silver medal in the U23 road race at the UCI Road World Championships.
The Tour de Pologne was first held in 1928. Until 1993, the race was only open to amateur cyclists and most of its winners came from Poland. In 2009, the international cycling association, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), made the Tour de Pologne part of the UCI World Ranking calendar.