Kraków, Poland – Stage four of the Tour de Pologne was neutralised and shortened following the death of 22-year-old Belgian cyclist Bjorg Lambrecht on Monday. A minute of silence was held at the start in Jaworna and again at the same distance the crash took place.
At the end of an emotional and respectful stage designated non-competitive, the six riders of Lotto-Soudal led by Polish cyclist Tomasz Marczynski were the first to complete the circuit and crossed the line under a finishing arch bearing Bjorg Lambrecht’s name and race number in Kocierz. Wearing black armbands, they stood in a line arm in arm, honouring the young Belgian rider.
“We are all incredibly shaken by this tragedy. Words fail to describe the emotions that we’re all feeling,” said race director Czeslaw Lang. “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.”
Bjorg Lambrecht died after crashing approximately halfway through stage 3 of the Tour de Pologne on Monday. He was rushed to hospital in Rybnik by ambulance, where he died during surgery.
On Twitter, Lotto-Soudal announced that its six riders will be free to decide whether or not they want to take part in today’s stage five, between the Wieliczka Salt Mine and the town of Bielsko-Biała. Having won two out of the three competitive stages, German cyclist Pascal Ackermann of Bora–Hansgrohe currently leads the race.
According to Cycling News, competing in his second season at professional cycling’s top level, Bjorg Lambrecht 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.