Due to a heart muscle anomaly, Belgian cyclist Nathan van Hooydonck has retired from the sport and had an internal defibrillator implanted.
The 27-year-old driver of a Jumbo-Visma felt sick at the wheel and caused a collision last week.
Subsequent testing revealed the abnormality, and an ICD was implanted in Van Hooydonck to prevent further heart rhythm irregularities.
Van Hooydonck admitted, “I realize that I was incredibly lucky.”
If I hadn’t gotten such prompt and competent assistance, the outcome would have been different. I’m alright today, but it’s hard to accept that my career is over because of this.
In the words of our hero, “I would like to express my gratitude to the people who helped me, the medical team at the hospital, and all the fans who sent me messages.”
The collision happened when Van Hooydonck’s pregnant wife was in the car, but she was unharmed.
Saying, “I will now focus on my recovery and my upcoming fatherhood,” Van Hooydonck declared his intent to abandon all distractions.
Alicia’s pregnancy and delivery are progressing smoothly, and we can’t wait for the baby to arrive. That’s a big help, thanks a lot.
Since 2021, Van Hooydonck has been riding for the Dutch team Jumbo-Visita after beginning his professional career with BMC in 2017.
He was a member of the team that helped Jonas Vingegaard win the Tour de France this year and rode in the Tour of Britain only last week.
European Road Championships began on Wednesday, and Van Hooydonck was all set to represent Belgium.