“A native of Waregem in northern Belgium, Decraene killed himself not far from there at Zulte, the Belga news agency said without giving further details,” AFP said.
The Belgian Cycling Federation confirmed the news on its website. Its president, Tom van Damme, said, “It’s difficult to comment on this terrible news. It will take time.”
The governing body of world cycling, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), posted this statement on its website:
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) is very sad to announce the loss of Belgian rider Igor Decraene.
At a mere 18 years of age, Igor was the current Junior individual time-trial World Champion. At the end of 2013, he received the Vélo de Cristal as best Junior rider of the year in Belgium, and was due to defend his title in a few weeks time in Ponferrada at the 2014 UCI Road World Championships in Spain.
UCI President Brian Cookson said: “This is a terribly sad news. Igor was a very promising rider. Our thoughts are with his parents, brothers, family and friends.”
On Sept. 24, 2013, in Florence, Italy, Decraene won a gold medal and became the world champion in the junior men’s time trial:
He was set to ride with one of professional cycling’s biggest teams,Omega Pharma — Quick-Step.
He was to take part in the cycling world championships in Ponferrada, Spain, in September.
Teams, riders, coaches, and fans expressed their condolences on social media:
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