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"After the race I immediately left for the hospital in Lille. I met Antoine's father who told me the doctors didn't have much hope. After midnight we received the news that Antoine had died."

Photo: Wanty-Groupe Gobert

CIRCUS-WANTY GOBERT

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28.03.2016 @ 22:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

In De Panne sports director Hilaire Van Der Schueren, teammanager Jean-François Bourlart plus some riders and staff of Wanty-Groupe Gobert got together to give further explanations to the press regarding the accident that resulted in the death of Antoine Demoitié.


"The day started with the news that Thomas Degand broke his elbow in the Volta a Catalunya, then the news that Simone Antonini sustained a hand fracture in Gent-Wevelgem. After that, this all happened," Hilaire Van Der Schueren said.

"Antoine called me on the radio for bottles - his last words. I gave them and was called to a second group. I asked the commissaire to pass the group and then it happened. Our mechanic was the first to see Antoine and he immediately called me. At that moment I thought Antoine was dead but the ambulance was there straight away and he was airlifted to hospital. There was hope until the organization of Gent-Wevelgem asks me for contact details of Antoine's next of kin. Then you know it's very serious. 

"After the race I immediately left for the hospital in Lille. I met Antoine's father who told me the doctors didn't have much hope. After midnight we received the news that Antoine had died. We must process this together. This Wednesday we do a recon of Tour of Flanders together and then we eat together. We will talk about Antoine a lot." 

"We were very shaken on Sunday night. We read Antoine was dead but Hilaire assured us the situation was very serious but that Antoine hadn't died. This morning the definitive news came," sprinter Roy Jans said.

"As riders we decided together that we can't ride De Panne. It's too early. We don't have 100% focus at the moment. We need time to process this but first let it even sink in what happened." 

“Antoine joined Wanty-Groupe Gobert this season and wanted to ride WorldTour races. Every time we spoke with each other, he only spoke about that. Last Friday, he rode his first WorldTour race: E3 Harelbeke. He was part of the day’s breakaway and climbed the Taaienberg with the best. He was very proud of himself and we couldn’t have been more proud of him," Bourlart said.

"On Sunday, the incredible happened, the inconceivable. We can’t believe it. We are angry. After Rob Goris, Antoine is the second rider we have had to let go. We cry and we think of his wife Astrid and his family.” 

The gendarmerie in Hazebrouck, France investigates the accident. Sports director Hilaire Van der Schueren has been called as a witness to the accident.

Next to De Panne, Wanty-Groupe Gobert won't ride Route Adélie de Vitré and Paris-Camembert this weekend: races where Demoitie should have been riding.

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