Pro cyclist Touquet dies on a holiday, in Tenerife

BELGIAN cyclist Joren Touquet, who had been suffering heart problems, died in his sleep while on holiday in Tenerife.

The professional rider had been forced to stop racing earlier this year after being diagnosed with a heart condition.

In April, the 26-year-old found himself struggling in races, unexpectedly, and, after several tests, doctors said Touquet must stop racing immediately.

Luc Courtens, manager of Touquet’s Decock-Van Eyck-Devos-Dapoen team, said: “We are all in shock. At first there was disbelief, but we have to face the tough reality because Jorgen is no longer with us.”

Touquet finished fourth during a race in his home town of Wevelgem, on 13th April, but told the team he wasn’t feeling well. Then, five days later, he was forced to pulled out after two laps, struggling to recover.

Touquet, who went for a cardiogram and was told not to push himself hard on the bike, was expected to have further medical tests to see whether he would even be able to compete again.

After working for the team as a mechanic and caretaker off the bike, he went on holiday to Tenerife with his girlfriend, Elisabeth Vermeersch. But when she awoke on Tuesday morning (18th June), she realised he was not breathing.

Touquet previously rode for the Continental Vérandas Willems team, who were struck by tragedy at the 2018 Paris-Roubaix.

Belgian rider Michael Goolaerts suffered a cardiac arrest during the race and died in hospital hours later. His team said the 23-year-old received emergency treatment from medical staff at the scene. He was then transferred by helicopter to hospital in Lille for further treatment.

But his team later confirmed that Goolaerts had died in hospital, surrounded by friends and family.

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