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Two pro cyclists pass away

Josh Cunningham
29 Mar 2016

Young Belgian riders Antoine Demoitie and Daan Myngheer die in separate incidents

It was a dark few days for cycling over the weekend, as pro riders Antoine Demoitie and Daan Myngheer, both Belgian and 25 and 22 years old respectively, lost their lives to the sport. 

News filtered through very early on Monday that after a high speed crash in Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday, Demoitie suffered a collision with an official race motorbike that was unable to avoid the riders involved, and died of his injuries later in hospital. 

'Antoine Demoitié passed away last night after a terrible accident in Gent-Wevelgem. The entire team is in disbelief, shock, angry and sad because of the loss of Antoine. Our thoughts go out to his wife, family and friends,' read a press release from his Wanty-Groupe Gobert team. 

Demoitie's compatriot Daan Myngheer had been racing in the Criterium International with his Roubaix Lille Metropole team, and the previous day had suffered a heart attack in an ambulance after losing contact with the race. Less than 24 hours after the news of Demoitie's passing, it emerged that the comatose Myngheer was also unable to recover from his state, and had also died. 

The cycling sphere was emphatic in its condolences, and a minute's silence was held at the start of the Three Days of De Panne race on Tuesday in memoriam, but there has also been conversation relating to forward action in light of the tragic deaths. As was captured by Marcel Kittel in an open letter on his Facebook page, there is a feeling that the Demoitie incident was the final message in a narrative whose climax was destined to be a fatality. 

Calls for increased scrutiny of all race vehicles and their drivers, a cap on the increasing amount of vehicles involved in races, and a general increase in safety measures have all been woven between the messages of respect and grieving. In the memory of Demoitie and Myngheer, we can only hope that positive change does come, and cycling will be spared from suffering such losses again. 

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