Cyclist Van Hooydonck severely injured in car crash


Belgian cyclist Nathan van Hooydonck has been severely injured in a car accident while driving.

The Jumbo-Visma rider, who helped Jonas Vingegaard win this year's Tour de France, was said by police to have life-threatening injuries in Tuesday's crash. but reports of his condition improved during the day.

Van Hooydonck was waiting at a junction in the town of Kalhmthout, near Antwerp, with his pregnant wife in the passenger seat when he became unwell and inadvertently accelerated into traffic.

"A car with two occupants was waiting at the traffic lights at the intersection of Dorpsstraat and Kapelsesteenweg," Patrick De Smedt, spokesperson for the border police zone, told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad.

"The driver was resuscitated on site and taken to hospital in life-threatening condition.

"His pregnant wife who was sitting next to him was not injured but was also taken to hospital for a check-up."

Jumbo-Visma sports director Grischa Niermann told the Sporza portal: "We know that he had an accident and is in hospital. I think he is in an artificial coma."

Niermann was speaking from Spain where Vingegaard subsequently won the 16th stage of the Vuelta a Espana and dedicated the victory to van Hooydonck.

"I'm just happy to win today because we had some terrible news this morning and I wanted to win for my best friend today," Vingegaard said. 

Afterwards another Jumbo-Visma rider, Hungarian Attila Valter, had better news.

"We just heard on the team radio that Nathan is awake and is okay, that's what we were hoping for," the Hungarian said. "I hope he is watching that this victory is for him."

Van Hooydonck, who, has been with the Dutch outfit since 2021, rode in the Tour of Britain last week and was set to represent Belgium at the upcoming European road championships.