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Of course, it had to rain. As friends and family of the late Kristof Goddaert accompanied him to his final resting place, the Belgian skies unleashed a spray of rain, wind and cold — a fitting nod to the life of a Belgian cyclist.
A week after his death, the friends, family, and teammates of IAM Cycling’s Goddaert laid the Belgian to rest. Goddaert was killed while training in Antwerp, Belgium, last Tuesday when he crashed at a rail crossing and was thrown into the path of a bus. He was 27 years old.
Family, friends, and a delegation of 40 people from IAM Cycling, led by Michel Thétaz, the founder and general manager of the team, gathered at St. Paul’s Church Antwerp Thursday. According to a report from IAM Cycling, those present did their best to use the occasion to remember the young rider as his positive outlook.
IAM Cycling’s road captain Martin Elmiger had spent the past four years as Goddaert’s teammate, first with Ag2r La Mondiale and then on IAM. He recalled his teammate’s high enthusiasm.
“He was the perfect example of how to live life to the maximum and to make the best out of every situation. He didn’t miss out on anything,” Elmiger said, according to a press release from the team. “Nobody saw his destiny, and that’s why it is so hard to understand. The only thing we can do is accept it and let him go with love.”
IAM director Kjell Carlström said much of the same last week.
“It’s really, really difficult. We all take it really personally. We have all different feelings about it,” he told VeloNews a day after Goddaert’s death. “He was such a positive guy and always thinking good, and being nice and positive about all the things. We think that for that it’s really important to, at least today, continue in his memory, and then the following days we will see. It’s really open for everyone in our team to chose to continue [at the Tour of Oman] or not. They have to feel it inside if they can do it or not.”
Goddaert was remembered as a team rider, and one whose list of results never could reflect his contributions to his squads.
“He would give everything of himself to help the team succeed. Amiable, even a joker, off the bike, Kristof took his job very seriously and worked diligently to make a name for himself in the bunch and to make a living through his passion,” IAM Cycling said in a statement. “He could be the life and soul of the group when things were not going according to plans. His teammates and friends knew that it was exactly this unrelenting drive that made him such a valuable addition to the team. Nevertheless, in the face of such a human tragedy, the sporting factors fall by the wayside, and everyone can only hope and pray that his family, his friends and his teammates will find some peace and solace in the knowledge that he was so well loved in his too short life.”