Cycling Sports

Gripping testimonies from teammates Michael Goolaerts: “It was one big nightmare”

The team management and the riders of Veranda’s Willems – Crelan came the whole day together in Aarschot. For a collective conversation with a traumapsycholoog and a meeting with the press. Especially the testimony of rider and team-mate Stijn Steels made a huge impression.

It was the team management, assisted by Jef Van Den Bosch, the personal manager of Goolaerts, that the press was talking to. Of the riders only took Sean De Bie and Stijn Steels the courage to confront.

Manager Jef Van Den Bosch stressed that Goolaerts in november, a comprehensive cardiac examination had undergone, in addition to that of the team. “And it turned out not that something was wrong with Michael. Why that research? I can’t answer that.”

Stijn Steels was last Sunday together with Goolaerts to the start of Paris-Roubaix. “It’s all so weird,” said Steels. “We knew in advance that this is our course would be. We had a wildcard, standing with a potential winner at the start. We are confident to start and then happens something like that. The rest is just one long nightmare. What a dream it had to be, turned out to be a very dark day. That’s terrible.”

Steels experienced everything from the first row. “I was involved in the first crash,” sounded the. “Michael called me that I had to leave. I got a little behind. On the second kasseistrook I see a motorcycle on the side stand. And I see a wheel, the chance was big that it was ours. During the pass I see in a flash that any of us are. With the way he was, I knew enough. Through the earphones I heard that was called to Michael. From what I heard, I could deduce that it is very bad.”

Steels would eventually be out of time on the piste of Roubaix arrive. Steels: “The rest of the day is a daze. I have almost always ridden, everything starts to displace. And there you hear suddenly again people shout: “Come on, Michael.” Then you know again that it really is. Eventually, I arrived, everyone was already entered that information in. The caregiver had the training in the eyes. Then you should not ask how it is, then you know that it probably will end badly.”

The riders gathered afterwards in a hotel in Nazareth, where they together have a meal would be enjoyed. “During the evening we got gradually back hope because you can’t hear anything,” said Steels. “But during dinner we got the terrible news. Then drop everything and go away. So many emotions, that you can’t describe it.”

Steels start tomorrow, not in the Brabantse pijl, but was still glad that he day with his team mates had spent. “Especially the conversation with the traumapsycholoog has virtue done. It was the first time that we saw each other. Everyone has their story can do, of that day also. That man has that been properly addressed. Also the confrontation with the family… I watched there against. The family has so much courage shown to us. This day is hugely important to the situation to process. In terms of cardiac examination is cycling further than any other sport. How many times would Michael already checked? Never have they found something and then it happens something like that. He has just brute bad luck.”

Sean De Bie has trained almost daily with victim

Teammate Sean De Bie stood on Sunday at the start of Paris-Roubaix but will drive tomorrow’s Brabantse pijl. “I went often with him to train, especially this winter, because we are in the same team came,” said De Bie. “From november we are almost daily on the road. I can only remember it as a cheerful person. In each group, he was the most popular boy, I can not a bad word to say about Michael. And he never talked ill of others. I mostly have to do with the family because it is such a superlieve people. Last night, I still came to visit me because the brother I had called. They had a great need to see someone that close to Michael. That is why I am there together with my wife to go riding. I think that they look virtue of have had.”

At the time of the accident was The Bie himself on the train. “I was an hour from home when I heard it. We have then a very long time in ignorance lived until in the evening I phone got. You can hear the world a little bit. I am as quickly as possible to a common friend driven to talk about it.”

That they are tomorrow in the Brabantse pijl start, especially at the request of the family. “The family wanted to, per se, that tomorrow we koersten. They are the full one hundred percent behind. It will be no easy hours on the bike, the blow will subsequently come. That Michael never had a notice has been given, makes it frightening. My wife has it.”

Team management let riders decide

Ultimately the riders themselves who have decided to drive, emphasizes performance manager Michiel Elijzen: “It is unanimously decided after contact with the parents of Michael and the riders to start in the Brabant Arrow, as a tribute to Michael,” said the Dutchman. “We want a positive sense, the price to enter, in memory of Michael who so wish. Tomorrow we got to a point behind our voorjaarscampagne, we delete the Tro Bro Leon.

Manager Jef Van Den Bosch had to know that Goolaerts will be buried in the church of Hallaar, the municipality of Heist-op-den-Berg where Goolaerts lived. A date is not yet known. That will depend on the time when the French authorities to the body of Goolaerts release.

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