Belgian Van Aert has admitted that none of his achievements this season are worth it after his friend’s sudden death at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, April 8.
Michael Goolaerts, 23, lost his life after a horrifying crash he got involved into, suffering a cardiac arrest minutes after the incident took place while being taken to the nearest hospital by helicopter.
Wout Van Aert, who was able to cross the Paris-Roubaix line in 13th place, closed a super successful Classics campaign with an impressive performance. However, the Verandas Willems-Crelan rider has thought of anything but celebrating this last couple of days.
“It does not matter how I did, my thoughts are with my teammate Michael Goolaerts, who lost his life yesterday,” Van Aert said.
“No race report on my website today, because it just does not matter Yes, I had worked weeks for Paris-Roubaix – my favorite cobbled classic – I wanted to finish a strong spring on the road in style, and after that to enjoy a well-deserved holiday together with his partner, Sarah. It is unfortunately completely different: all results of the past spring vanished with the death of our teammate Michael Goolaerts. I close my road campaign with a very bitter aftertaste.”
Van Aert said he has been friends with Goolaerts for many years. They are both born in 1994 in the same area of Belgium racing countless of times in the same circuit.
“I remember Michael as an ever-cheerful guy, never bad-tempered and always extremely motivated, a barrel full of talent, even though he needed a bit more time to grow than I did, because he had taken a big step forward this year,” he added.