The ultimate tragedy struck the UCI World Tour on Monday during the third stage of the Tour de Pologne, when Belgian rider Bjorg Lambrecht, 22, crashed into a concrete channel and died hours after receiving medical treatment.
The crash took place during Monday’s 150.5 km flat stage, held on a loop course from Chorzow to Zabrze. Lambrecht crashed 48 km into the race, on a flat section that did not appear dangerous.
CyclingNews.com reported that “Race doctor Ryszard Wisniewski was quoted as saying, ‘We don’t know why he fell, it was on a totally flat road. We tried to give a heart massage just afterwards, then we called for a helicopter but his condition was so serious it wasn’t able to transport him.
“‘So we did more reanimation there where he was and then took him to the hospital by ambulance. More reanimation was done on the way to the hospital, but he died during the operation there in the hospital [in Rybnik].’”
Lambrecht’s team, Lotto-Soudal posted, “The biggest tragedy possible that could happen to the family, friends and teammates of Bjorg has happened. Rest in peace Bjorg.”
The race will continue with a shortened, flattened fourth stage. Originally on a hilly, 173.3 km route from Jaworzno to Kocierz, the race organizers posted a notice stating “The race organisers, the jury and the cycling teams have made a decision to neutralize the 4th stage of Tour de Pologne to pay our respects to Bjorg. The stage route is reduced to 133.7km and the final laps cut to 1. Any further decisions regarding tomorrow’s stage will be communicated in agreement with Lotto Soudal.”
The third stage was shaken again at the end, as Fabio Jakobsen (NED) won but was disqualified for pushing another rider during the final sprint, giving the victory to German Pascal Ackermann. Also the winner of Stage 1, Ackermann is the overall leader in the race, but said of the unimaginable tragedy of a rider dying from injuries during a race, “Today, the result of the race doesn’t matter.”
Lambrecht was a promising rider, having finished second in the U-23 World Championships road race in 2018. He was 13th in the Tour de Pologne second stage on Sunday. The race is scheduled to continue through Friday (9th). Results and standings are here.