The president of the Professional Cyclists Association, Gianni Bugno, has demanded that lessons are learned following the death of the Belgian cyclist Antoine Demoitié, who was hit by a motorbike after a fall during the Gent-Wevelgem cycling classic on Sunday.
The 25-year-old rider was taken to the University Hospital of Lille after the accident during a section of the race in Northern France but his team, Wanty-Gobert, confirmed Demoitié’s death on Sunday night.
Bugno said: “About the terrible accident that caused the death of the rider Antoine Demoitié during the Gent-Wevelgem race, 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 and at the last CCP meeting we specifically asked to communicate the strategies to improve security during the races.
“I do not want to accuse anyone but I want to make everyone reflect on the responsibility we have to ensure that a very high level of attention, awareness and control over safety standards during each race is maintained.”
A team statement on Twitter read: “Thanks for your overwhelming support. The team is touched by all the messages. We will bounce back and #RideForAntoine.”
The two-times Tour de France winner Chris Froome paid tribute to Demoitié on social media, saying: “So sad to hear of the passing of Antoine Demoitié. Condolences to his friends and family.”
Mark Cavendish said on Twitter: “Such tragic news. RIP Antoine Demoitié. My thoughts and condolences are with your family, friends and teammates.”