May 28, 2016 / 1:57 PM / 3 years ago

Belgian rider Broeckx in a coma after crash involving motorbikes

BRUSSELS/PARIS (Reuters) - Belgian rider Stig Broeckx is in a coma after the 26-year-old was involved in a crash involving motorbikes on the third stage of the Tour of Belgium on Saturday, a race official told Reuters.

“Broeckx is in a coma”, race spokesman Chris Vannoppen said. The rider had been transferred to hospital in Aachen, Germany, his Lotto-Soudal team said on Twitter.

The incident involved two motorbikes and 19 riders, Vannoppen said. Five of the riders were taken to hospitals near the crash, which happened near Verviers, close to the border with Germany.

The spokesman said that the four other riders were not in serious condition.

The stage was abandoned after the crash, the official website of the tour said.

The accident is likely to trigger new controversy over the safety of cycling races. In March, Belgian rider Antoine Demoitie died after being hit by a motorbike during the Gent-Wevelgem one-day race, the latest in a string of incidents involving race vehicles over the last year.

Reporting by Julien Pretot in Paris and Francesco Guarascio in Brussels; Editing by Clare Fallon

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