Around 9:30 a.m., van Hooydonck was driving a car in the center of the Belgian town of Kalmthout when he reportedly suffered a cardiac arrest that came out of nowhere. He lost control of the car and accidentally stepped on the accelerator in front of a busy intersection. And a five-vehicle accident ensued.
A professional cyclist fared the worst. “The driver was resuscitated on the spot and then transported to hospital, his life being in danger,” said local police spokesperson Patrick de Smedt. His wife Alicia, who was eight months pregnant, was also sitting in the car with the cyclist. She also ended up in hospital, but escaped without serious injuries.
According to HLN, Van Hooydonck is in the intensive care unit and has been put on artificial sleep as a precaution. The competitor’s entourage claims that his condition is promising and that there has been no brain damage.
His teammate Attila Valter provided new information after the 16th stage of the Spanish Vuelta in an interview with Eurosport. “Before arrival, we were told on the radio that Nathan had woken up. I hope he will be well,” hopes the Hungarian, who prepared a decisive attack for Jonas Vingegaard. “This victory is for Nathan,” added Valter.
And the Danish winner made the same speech. “We received terrible news before the stage. I wanted to win for my best friend. Fortunately, there is good news about his condition. It’s a big relief for the whole team,” Vingegaard said.
We can confirm that earlier today our driver Nathan van Hooydonck fell ill while driving his car, resulting in his involvement in a road accident. He was then transported to hospital, where he is receiving good medical care. We cannot confirm rumors that his…
– Jumbo-Visma Cycling Team (@JumboVismaRoad) September 12, 2023
Team sports director Grischa Niermann also spoke to reporters about the accident before the 16th stage of the Vuelta. “This is very, very cruel news for all of us. Now our thoughts are elsewhere than on the Vuelta. We hope that everything goes well,” he said.
Fortunately, good news quickly arrived. “Nathan is awake, unharmed and not in critical condition. He remains in hospital to determine why he became ill,” representatives of the Jumbo-Visma team said in a statement.
Van Hooydonck and his wife already faced a crushing loss at the end of 2021, when they lost their newborn son Thiago.
The Gooreind native is one of the important domestic players in the current best team in the world. Last week he took part in the Round of Britain, where he helped Wout van Aert take first place overall. He also signed Jonas Vingegaard’s triumph in the Tour de France last year and this year he also participated in Primož Roglič’s victory in the Spanish Vuelta two years ago.
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