Monthly Archives: March 2016

Demoitie crash ‘unfortunate accident’

Wanty-Gobert rider Antoine Demoitie

Antoine Demoitie’s team Wanty-Gobert have pulled out of several races this weekend

A crash with a motorbike which killed Belgian cyclist Antoine Demoitie was an “unfortunate accident”, says his team.

The 25-year-old was hit by the motorbike after several riders came down in a crash as the Gent-Wevelgem race passed through northern France.

Jose Been, spokeswoman for the Wanty-Gobert team, told BBC Sport it was “not a case of the motorcyclist going too fast and causing the crash”.

Demoitie was taken to hospital in Lille but died some time later.

A French police inquiry is under way and the sport’s governing body, the UCI, is co-operating with the investigation.

Demoitie was among several competitors involved in a fall in the one-day race, which was won by world champion Peter Sagan.

“The cyclists fell right in front of the motorcyclist who had no time to react and just hit them,” Beem said.

“The motorcyclist is very experienced and has been in the races a long time. He is as grief-stricken as we are.

“It was a very unfortunate, horrible accident for both sides.”


On Monday, Demoitie’s team, Wanty-Gobert, tweeted this image of the rider

At a news conference on Monday, tearful team manager Jean-Francois Bourlart said Demoitie had ridden his first WorldTour race – the E3 Harelbeke in Belgium – only last week.

“He was very proud of himself and we couldn’t have been more proud of him,” he said. “On Sunday, the incredible happened, the inconceivable. We can’t believe it. We are angry. We cry and we think of his wife Astrid and his family.”

Earlier on Monday, Professional Cyclists’ Association president Gianni Bugno, a former rider, said: “I do not want to accuse anyone, but make everyone reflect on the responsibility we have to ensure… a very high level of attention, awareness, and control over safety standards during each race.”

Several high-profile professional cyclists have paid tribute to Demoitie, while others have questioned whether there needs to be rule changes around motorbikes, which are used mainly for security and media.

In a Facebook post, German sprinter Marcel Kittel said the sport had reached a “new and very sad low point in the history of cycling and safety”.

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Record RideLondon prize delights Trott

RideLondon announce record prize money

Laura Trott won the inaugural RideLondon women’s race in 2013

Double Olympic champion Laura Trott says women’s cycling is “getting the recognition it deserves” after RideLondon announced a record prize fund of £78,600 for this year’s race.

The purse tops the £50,000 on offer at next month’s women’s race in the Tour de Yorkshire.

The 66km race, in London on 30 July, has the same fund as the men’s RideLondon-Surrey Classic a day later.

“We believe in equality in sport,” said event director Hugh Brasher.

The individual winner of the race will collect £19,600, with £7,860 going to the winning team.

The race will take place on a 5.5km circuit around central London, taking in The Mall, Constitution Hill, Parliament Square, The Strand and Trafalgar Square.

Trott, who has raced in each edition of the event, added: “RideLondon has pioneered incredible change in women’s cycling, first with live television coverage, then live cameras on bikes last year and now with record prize money and parity with the men’s race.”

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Cycling mourns second Belgian death

Daan Myngheer

Myngheer was the 2011 Belgian junior champion and turned professional last year

Cyclist Daan Myngheer, 22, has died in hospital after suffering a heart attack during the first stage of the Criterium International in Corsica.

He is the second Belgian cyclist to die in as many days after Antoine Demoitie was struck by a motorbike during Belgium’s Gent-Wevelgem race.

Myngheer, who turned professional last year, had been in an induced coma.

His team, Roubaix Metropole Lille, said in a statement: “He lost his last race after fighting like a champion.”

Myngheer pulled up in difficulty 20 miles from the line in the first stage of the race at Porto-Vecchio on Saturday.

He suffered the heart attack while in an ambulance, before being transferred by helicopter to hospital, where he was put on artificial respiration and fell into a coma. According to his team, Myngheer’s organs have been donated.

British cyclist Mark Cavendish tweeted: “Such a terribly sad few days in the professional cycling world. Another tragic loss.

“RIP Daan Myngheer. My thoughts are with your loved ones.”

Team Sky added: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Daan Myngheer. So sad to lose another member of the cycling family.”

Welsh cyclist Owain Doull wrote: “Tragic news to wake up the death of Daan Myngheer. I’ve been racing against Daan since I was 15 and always looked up to him. Gone too soon.”

Tour de France organisers ASO, who also operate the Criterium International, said on Twitter: “Our deepest condolences go out to the families, friends and team-mates of Antoine Demoitie and Daan Myngheer.”

UCI president Brian Cookson wrote on social media: “My thoughts are with the family, friends and teammates of Daan Myngheer.”

The latest tragedy comes after the 25-year-old Demoitie, who was riding for the Wanty-Gobert team, was killed when he was hit by a motorbike.

The accident happened when several riders crashed as they passed through northern France during Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem one-day race.

Demoitie was taken to hospital in Lille but died some time later.

A minute’s silence was held for both riders at the beginning of the Three Days of De Panne on Tuesday morning.

In January, six racers from the Giant-Alpecin team, including German John Degenkolb and Frenchman Warren Barguil, were injured in a collision with a car during a training ride south of Valencia.

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Cyclist dies after Gent-Wevelgem crash

Antoine Demoitie

Antoine Demoitie died in hospital after a collision with a motorbike

Belgian cyclist Antoine Demoitie has died after a collision with a motorbike during Belgium’s Gent-Wevelgem race.

The 25-year-old was hit by the motorbike after several riders came down in a crash as the race passed through northern France.

Demoitie was taken to hospital in the French city of Lille but died some time later.



Two-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome and former world road race champion Mark Cavendish expressed their sympathy via Twitter

“An inquiry is under way to determine the circumstances,” said Frederic Evrard, a French police spokesman.

The sport’s governing body, the UCI, said it would cooperate with all relevant authorities in an investigation into the incident.

UCI president Brian Cookson said: “Antoine will be truly missed. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and team.”


On Monday, Demoitie’s team, Wanty-Gobert, tweeted a black-and-white image of the rider, with his dates

Demoitie’s team, Wanty-Gobert, posted on Twitter while he was still in a critical condition to say that his wife and family were at his side, and once his death was announced added a simple black-and-white image, with the rider’s dates.

Former Belgian national champion Jens Debusschere was also taken to hospital after he was concussed following a heavy crash.





German rider Marcel Kittel, and Welsh double Olympic gold medallist Geraint Thomas were among others to pay tribute, while Michael Rogers and Dan Martin also debated the regulation of motorbikes supporting races and implications for rider safety

The 243km, one-day race was won by Peter Sagan of Slovakia. World road race champion Sagan held off Sep Vanmarcke, Vyacheslav Kuznetsov and Fabian Cancellara to take victory.

Dutch rider Chantal Blaak won the women’s race by 84 seconds after riding clear from a breakaway group with 10km remaining.

Lizzie Armitstead was the first Briton to cross the finish line, two minutes 23 seconds behind her Boels Dolmans Cycling Team colleague.

BBC Sport’s Matt Slater

“In the immediate aftermath of a tragedy, thoughts of condolence must be paramount. Antoine Demoitie’s death has shocked everybody connected with the sport but shock is nothing compared to the appalling loss those who really knew and loved him will be feeling now.

“But once the initial reaction subsides, the wider cycling family must address how this happened and, if it is really honest with itself, admit this is a tragedy foretold.

“Simply put, bike races are now far more crowded than ever: there are cameramen on motorbikes, photographers on motorbikes, sponsors and VIPs in cars, mechanics on motorbikes, team cars, police motorbikes and sometimes up to 200 riders fighting for road space.

“Cycling is going through a purple patch in terms of participation but the economics of professional cycling remain precarious. Race organisers and teams depend on the exposure they get from television, which means more cameras, closer to the action. Without a compelling TV product, there are no bidding contests to host events, sponsors for teams, shop windows for manufacturers, role models for new fans.

“But without safe conditions to race, there are no riders, there is no sport. Cycling must find its balance.”

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Armitstead to race for record prize

Lizzie Armitstead

Armitstead won the elite women’s UCI World Championships road race in a dramatic sprint finish last September

British world champion Lizzie Armitstead will race for the most lucrative prize in women’s cycling at next month’s Tour de Yorkshire.

The winner gets £15,000 – more than the winner of the men’s race and £14,000 more than 2015 champion Louise Mahe.

The 135km ride from Otley to Doncaster takes place on Saturday, 30 April, with the second stage of the men’s three-day race starting later on the same course.

It is Otley-born Armitstead’s first race as world champion in the UK.

“We’re trying to seismically change the sport,” said Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of organisers Welcome To Yorkshire.

“If you won all three stages of the men’s race and you took the general classification money as well, you would still be 40% worse off than the winner of the women’s race. So that’s a big difference.”

Armitstead, who will be riding for GB because her usual team, Boels Dolmans, is not competing, said “It’s an absolute dream to be starting in my hometown.”

The 27-year-old is also the reigning British and Commonwealth champion and has won her last five races, including that superb victory at the World Road Championships in the US last September.

Armitstead skipped last year’s inaugural Tour de Yorkshire as it clashed with a higher-ranked event in Luxembourg but tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire have worked hard to boost its profile.

It is now classified in the category just below the 17 races on the new International Cycling Union (UCI) Women’s WorldTour.

With Leeds-based supermarket Asda as a sponsor, the £50,000 prize fund is comparable to the biggest one-day races on the men’s circuit.

French sprinter Arnaud Demare’s prize for winning Milan-San Remo, the first big classic of the men’s season, was £15,600, which is the same as will be available at the next major one-day race, the Tour of Flanders.

The winner of the Women’s Tour of Flanders, however, will get £957.


Lizzie Armitstead celebrates her 2015 world title in Richmond, Virginia

The Yorkshire prize pot is also almost double what is on offer at the premier race for female professionals in this country, the five-day Women’s Tour in June.

Cycling has a far worse record for gender inequality than tennis – the game currently dominating the headlines for sexism in sport – and leading female riders have been calling for better events and more exposure for years.

When asked whether she thought cycling was sexist, Armitstead said: “Well, yeah, traditionally, yes. But it is improving.

“Our sport is the younger side of the sport than the men’s and there is a long way to go, but it is getting there.

“There are different aspects that need improving. Media coverage, for a start, needs to improve. People need to be able to watch me win races rather than just read about them on Twitter.

“It’s getting there but, as I say, it needs a lot of things to happen.”

Coverage of both races at the Tour de Yorkshire will be shown live on ITV4 and Eurosport.

The Tour de Yorkshire is part of the legacy of the region’s successful hosting of the Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour de France.

Norway’s Lars Petter Nordhaug won the men’s version in 2015, with Britain’s Mahe the female champion.

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