Michael Goolaerts died in hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest during the 116th Paris-Roubaix on Sunday (April 8).

Belgian rider Goolaerts, 23, who rode for ProConti team Verandas Willems-Crelan, was airlifted to hospital after coming down on the second cobbled sector of the race.

But his team confirmed he had died at Lille hospital late in the evening following the incident.

Michael Goolaerts, Tour of Flanders, 2018, pic - Sirotti

A team statement read: “It is with great unimaginable sadness that we have to communicate the passing of our rider and friend Michael Goolaerts.

“He passed away Sunday evening at 22:40 in Lille hospital in the presence of his family members and loves 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. We thank you in advance for respecting the privacy of his relatives."

Goolaerts was making his debut in the senior race, having previously competed in the Paris-Roubaix Espoirs with the Belgian national team.

He was in the second year of his current stint with Verandas Willems-Crelan, having raced for the team at Continental level as a trainee in 2013 and for a full season in 2014.

He also rode as a stagiaire for Lotto-Soudal in the latter months of the 2016 season, before rejoining Verandas Willems-Crelan in 2017.

Tributes to the 23-year-old were led by Paris-Roubaix winner Peter Sagan, with the world champion writing on Twitter: “All the thoughts and prayers of the Bora-Hansgrohe team and myself are with Michael Goolaerts. Such sad news."