An Irish man has collapsed and died while taking part in the Tour of Flanders Cyclo event with his son yesterday.
The 56 year old man, who has not yet been names, was riding the 129km version of the course and was already more than 100km into the ride when he collapsed while ascending the infamous Oude Kwaremont hill.
Organisers said that he had shown no signs of ill-health, and was taking part in the event for the 14th time. It was his son’s fourth attempt at the course.
The man was helped by medical teams on site, who were unable to save him.
The course lengths range from 71km to 227km, taking in the iconic cobbled roads of the region. The event has been held for 25 years, taking place the day before the Tour of Flanders professional cycling race.
road.cc’s David Arthur, who was at the event, said: “There were a lot of crashes today, and I saw people being stretchered off the cobbles into waiting ambulances.
“I don’t recall ever seeing so many crashes here. I’ve no idea if there’s something going on."
It is the first time in the 25 year history of the event that a participant has died.
Local news website Nieuwsblad quoted the race organiser as saying: “The victim rode the Tour in support of his son (who) immediately got help from a support team and was subsequently brought directly to his father in the hospital. This tragic incident has put a damper on this anniversary edition of the Tour.”
It is believed the man suffered a heart attack.