The up and coming world junior cycling champion Igor Decraene has been found dead this weekend in an apparent suicide at the age of 18.
The Belgian, who won the world junior individual time-trial title in Florence last year, was in line to move to a reserve position in the World Tour outfit Omega Pharma before his death in Zulte, northern Belgium, according to the Belga news agency.
The Belgian Federation president Tom Van Damme added: "It's difficult to comment on this terrible news, it will take time."
The Belgian cycling federation said in a statement: "The junior world time-trial champion, aged 18, was taking part in a week of training with the national team this week ahead of the world road-race championships in Ponferrada," the federation said in a statement.
The young star’s team, Tieltse Rennersclub told Het Laatste Nieus: "Igor couldn't wait to defend his title at the World Championships. He was hoping to land another great result at the worlds. Unfortunately that won't be the case.
The team put a message on its Facebook page saying: "It is with great pain that we announce to you the death of Igor Decraene who has been the victim of a terrible accident."
In its statement the Belgian Federation simply described Decraene's death as sudden but offered no further detail as to the circumstances. Some news agencies have reported that it was suicide but as yet no details of the incident to corroborate that have been released. More often than not news agency reports in to such incidents are accurate.