Husband of Flanders crash victim tells Johan Vansummeren: Win Paris-Roubaix for Marie-Claire

Woman hit by Garmin-Sharp rider reported to be in critical but stable condition

by Simon_MacMichael   April 9, 2014  

Johan Van Summeren wins 2011 Paris-Roubaix Tiltshift © Simon MacMichael-tiltshift-2

The husband of the woman who Johan Vansummeren crashed into at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday has said that he hopes the Garmin-Sharp rider wins Paris-Roubaix again next weekend – and dedicates the victory to his wife, who remains in a coma following two brain operations.

Marie-Claire Moreels, aged 65, required two operations on her brain after being hit by the Garmin-Sharp rider as she watched the race speed by from a traffic island. She is in a critical but stable condition in hospital in Kortrijk.

As we reported on Monday, a judicial investigation has been opened into the incident, which happened in Wielsbeke after 57km of the 259km race, won by Trek Factory Racing’s Fabian Cancellara.

Vansummeren has said that on Sunday night he didn’t sleep well. “What should have been a party turned into a nightmare,” he explained.

“I will wait a few days before speaking with the woman’s family, but the most important thing, the only thing that counts, is that she pulls through.”

But the victim’s husband, Philippe Reyntjens, says he does not hold Vansummeren responsible. 

He told the Gazet Van Antwerpen: “We don’t blame Johan Vansummeren. It was an accident. It all happened so fast. He saw Marie-Claire too late.”

The cyclist required stitches to his face and sustained a black eye as a result of the crash, but Mr Reyntjens said he wished him well and hopes he can ride Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix.

“Even better, he could win and dedicate it to Marie-Claire,” he added.

There were emotional scenes following Vansummeren’s 2011 victory when he proposed to his girlfriend – now his wife – on the infield of the track at the Roubaix Velodrome moments after taking a fine solo win.

But should he gain a repeat victory this weekend and take up Mr Reyntjens suggestion, it’s unlikely there will be a dry eye in the house.

10 user comments

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I mean, in this country it'd be pitchforks, banning Lycra and calling for him to be hanged.

What a seemingly reasonable and sensible response from the husband.

I hope JVS wins now too.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [753 posts]
9th April 2014 - 2:00

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If it wasn't such a big race with lots of meaning and was just a stage in any tour, I'm sure he would be allowed to win it out of respect.

But the Paris Roubaix is a race every rider wants to win and have on their palmares. Its important to so many. So he'll have to fight for the win and I now hope he can repeat his 2011 victory, if he is in a condition to race.

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posted by Gkam84 [8696 posts]
9th April 2014 - 3:43

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No pressure then.


posted by rich22222 [106 posts]
9th April 2014 - 8:57

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Physically JVS may be ok, but mentally?

Hope everyone involved recovers, it is the sort of thing that should not happen on a sunny Sunday in Flanders.

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posted by Blackhound [436 posts]
9th April 2014 - 8:59

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It wasn't a case of he didn't see her until it was too late, he would have crashed whether she was there or not. Just really unfortunate that she was.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

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posted by Cooks [481 posts]
9th April 2014 - 10:02

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As Gizmo says - sometimes an unfortunate series of events lead to an accident. Nothing more sinister than that.
There always, too often, *has* to be someone to blame.

posted by Some Fella [722 posts]
9th April 2014 - 10:13

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Allez JVS then.

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2948 posts]
9th April 2014 - 10:14

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I hope she pulls through.

Above comments are right though, if this was the UK all racing would be banned! The irony is, if there were less cars, and more sensible driving there would be less need for all the road furniture which caused the crash in the first place.

posted by Simmo72 [274 posts]
9th April 2014 - 12:54

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notfastenough wrote:
Allez JVS then.

You can't say that anymore. Or the name of the town where the race finishes.
Big S lawyers.

Vin Cox

posted by Vin Cox [44 posts]
9th April 2014 - 14:50

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Big S lawyers or big-ass lawyers?!

No riding on tarmac, no jumping stumps or hard rocks!

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2948 posts]
9th April 2014 - 15:24

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