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Spectator killed after being hit by rider during Belgian race

Rider lost control of his bike in the wind

The wife of former Tour de France stage winner, Ludwig Wijnants, has been killed after being hit by a rider during the Brustem-Sint-Truiden race. Sporza reports that 18-year-old Jordi Van Dingenen lost control of his bike in the wind and collided with the 54-year-old in the feedzone.

Van Dingenen was riding for the Vastgoedservice – Golden Palace team. Team manager, Roger Loysch - Lanterne Rouge in the 1977 Tour de France - said a sudden gust of wind had brought about the incident.

“I stood on the side, along with Ludwig Wynants and his wife. At the front of the peloton Jordi wanted to give me his jacket. Then suddenly there was a very fierce gust of wind, and he lost control.”

The race is for elite riders without a contract and Wijnants’ son, Arne, was also taking part. Loysch said that she had been trying to provide him with a water bottle when she was hit.

Wijnants was taken to hospital and underwent surgery, but later died of her injuries. Van Dingenen suffered a shoulder injury and concussion.

Last year, 65-year-old Marie-Claire Moreels was hit by Johan Vansummeren during the Tour of Flanders. The collision happened as the peloton sped past a traffic island where she was standing, along with other spectators, around 60km into the 259km race on Stationsstraat in the town of Wielsbeke. Vansummeren is believed to have seen the obstacle too late and apparently tried to bunnyhop it, but could not avoid hitting her.

Moreels’ husband, Philippe, was initially told by an anaesthetist that she had suffered severe trauma but would mostly recover. However, he has since learnt that her condition is unlikely to improve and she has been left paralysed down the right side of her body.

Vansummeren was also taken to hospital following the incident, but was discharged in the afternoon with facial stitching and a black eye and went on to ride Paris-Roubaix the following week. Speaking at the time, he said: “I never wanted this to happen. This could have been a beautiful day, but it turned out to be a nightmare. My thoughts are with her and her family."

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