Belgian cyclists have demanded an urgent investigation into the death of Antoine Demoitie, who was hit by a motorbike after crashing during a race on Sunday.
Wanty-Groupe Gobert rider Demoitie, who was 25, crashed with four other competitors around 115km from the end of the Gent-Wevelgem race. He was then struck by a race motorbike while he lay prone and died in hospital just hours later.
Professional Cyclists’ Association (CPA) president Gianni Bugno said: “The CPA and all the riders demand to shed immediate light on the accident and the circumstances that have caused it as well as on any of the responsible involved parties.
“At this time of sadness and sorrow for the death of Antoine we do not want to make controversy, but we have so much frustration inside. We have always stated that the safety of the riders must be in first place in the discussions of the cycling stakeholders.”
French police have said they are probing the accident, which took place during a section of the race that crossed from Belgium into France. Cycling’s governing body the UCI said it would co-operate.
Leading British riders Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish used Twitter to pay their tributes to Demoitie.
Two-time Tour de France winner Froome wrote: “So sad to hear of the passing of Antoine Demoitie. Condolences to his friends and family.”
Cavendish said: “Such tragic news. RIP Antoine Demoitie. My thoughts and condolences are with your family, friends and teammates.”