Who was cyclist Michael Goolaerts?

The Belgian cyclist Michael Goolaerts – who rode for Vérandas Willems–Crelan – died on Sunday after crashing during the 2018 Paris–Roubaix on a cobbled road section leading to his cardiac arrest hours later at hospital.

As the news sweeps around the world lighting up tabloids and broadsheets alike, Belgium morns the loss of the young 23-year-old and the cycling world says goodbye to an upcoming talent – with famous cyclists like Lance Armstrong leading an online tribute.

In memoriam, we look at Goolaerts’ time cycling.

Born in Lier but grew up in Hallaar. It was here Goolaerts began his love for the sport when joining the Balen Bicycle Club. He went on to win the provincial individual time-trial championship title of Antwerp in the newcomers category in 2010; won the individual time trial championship title in the juniors category in 2011; and In 2012, he won the Belgian championships team pursuit title with the juniors.

After his successive wins, Goolaerts signed his first professional contract on 1st of August 2016 with Lotto–Soudal as a stagiaire, before going on to UCI Professional Continental team Vérandas Willems–Crelan for the 2017 season. He debuted in the Étoile de Bessèges, and had a top-10 position in the GP Briek Schotte. He placed ninth in at the start of the 2018 season in the Dwars door West–Vlaanderen and was in an early breakaway in the Tour of Flanders.

michael goolaerts young

It was Sunday 8th of April 2018, Goolaerts first Paris–Roubaix race, he died. The race had already covered 109km and was reaching the third cobbled sector of Saint-Python. There he crashed, quickly slipping into a cardiorespiratory arrest, and then lay unresponsive on the ground. Paramedics resuscitated him and taken by helicopter to CHRU-Hospital in Lille. He died later that evening.