Belgian rider, 22, dies after heart attack

Former Belgian junior champion Daan Myngheer is the second cyclist to die in the past week. He suffered a mid-race heart attack on Monday.
Former Belgian junior champion Daan Myngheer is the second cyclist to die in the past week. He suffered a mid-race heart attack on Monday.

PARIS • Cyclist Daan Myngheer died on Monday after suffering a heart attack during a race, in a second tragedy for Belgian cycling after Antoine Demoitie was killed in an accident a day earlier.

Myngheer, 22, the 2011 Belgian junior champion who turned professional only last year, suffered the heart attack on Saturday after pulling up in the first stage of the Criterium International in Corsica.

He died at 7.08pm on Monday in a hospital in d'Ajaccio on the island's west, surrounded by his family and partner Emely, his team Roubaix Metropole Lille said.

"He lost his last race after fighting like a champion," the team said in a statement on their Facebook page. "Rest in peace champion."

His death is another hammer blow to Belgian cycling after 25-year-old Demoitie was killed in a collision with a motorbike during the Gent-Wevelgem race on Sunday.

Myngheer, who would have turned 23 on April 13, pulled up in apparent difficulty some 30km from the line in the first stage of the race at Porto-Vecchio.

He suffered the heart attack while in an ambulance, before being transferred by helicopter to hospital where he was put on artificial respiration before falling into a coma.

L'Equipe media agency said the young racer also had trouble during an amateur race in 2014, but doctors found no problems with his heart when they examined him immediately afterwards.

He was also required to take new medical tests that winter, in France and Belgium, to keep his licence, it reported.

Myngheer turned professional last year with the Verandas Willems team before joining third-division Roubaix Metropole Lille this season.

His death comes less than 48 hours after the loss of Demoitie, who died after being hit by a motorcycle during a race through northern France.

Their deaths exacerbate a tough start to the year for European cycling, including the death of young hope Romain Guyot.

The 23-year-old Frenchman died earlier this month when he was hit by a truck at a crossroads in the west of the country.

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.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2016, with the headline 'Belgian rider, 22, dies after heart attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe