Cyclist
Representational picture Reuters

Belgian cyclist Michael Goolaerts, 23, has died a few hours after crashing and suffering a heart attack while competing in the classic Paris-Roubaix race, his team - Verandas Willems-Crelan - announced.

In a statement, the team said: "It is with unimaginable sadness that we have to communicate the passing of our rider and friend Michael GoogleEarth. He passed away on Sunday evening in Lille hospital in the presence of his family members and loved ones, who we keep in our thoughts."

"He died of cardiac arrest, all medical assistance was to no avail. For now, there will be no further communication as we want to give his close ones time to deal with this terrible loss," the team added, reports Efe.

"We thank you in advance for respecting the privacy of his relatives," the statement concluded.

Goolaerts was hospitalised on Sunday after crashing out at the Paris-Roubaix one-day cycling race, his team announced and died about 10:40 pm.

Although the team did not give details about his condition at first, media reports said the cyclist had suffered a heart attack after the crash.

"Michael Goolaerts was involved in a crash and forced to abandon the race. He was taken to the hospital. No further news at the moment," the team tweeted.

He was helicoptered to a hospital in Lille.

The 257-kilometre race, called the "Hell of the North," includes 29 sections of cobblestones, which require special control of the bicycle and more effort than a usual road race.

(IANS)