The cycling world has been rocked by the tragic death of Team Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s Antoine Demoitie. The Belgian rider crashed at Gent-Wevelgem and was taken to hospital but died shortly after his arrival on Sunday evening.
26 year old Demoitie was a promising Belgian cyclist. His signing for the ProContinental team Wanty-Groupe Gobert for the 2016 season was an important step up from Continental Team duties at Wallonie-Bruxelles; and a potential sign of things to come. He had achieved a handful of wins in his time as a professional cyclist; with his biggest triumph being victory in the UCI 1.1 race the Tour du Finistere in 2014.
Gent-Wevelgem somewhat predictably featured a number of crashes that ruled out several riders from impacting the race. Demoitie’s crash was just one of them. With 115km remaining, as the race entered France briefly before returning to Belgium, Demoitie crashed with four other riders. While that may have not been fatal, it is understood that the following motorbike colliding with Demoitie was.
He was taken to hospital in Ypres, but was later transitioned to the University hospital in Lille, where he was put in the intensive care unit because of the seriousness of his conditions. His condition was initially described as being ‘extremely serious’ by the Wanty-Groupe Gobert team, with Demoitie’s wife and family coming to the hospital.
Sadly though nothing could be done and Demoitie was reported dead shortly after midnight local time. Frederic Evrard of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais regional gendarmerie told AFP, “The rider died. An inquiry is under way to determine the circumstances.”