Tragedy has struck Flanders on the eve of the start of the 2021 UCI Road World Championships. Former rider Chris Anker Sørensen, at the event as a co-commentator for Danish television, was struck by a driver while riding in Belgium and later died of his injuries.
Sørensen had just turned 37 on September 5.
According to TV 2 Sport director Frederik Lauesen, Sørensen died after being struck by a van driver in Zeebrugge. The elite men’s individual time trial will start from nearby Bruges on Sunday.
“It is with great sadness that I have received the news that our good colleague Chris Anker Sørensen is dead, Lauesen said according to usdaynews.com.
“Mr. Sorensen was in Belgium for the World Cycling Championships. Today, Saturday, he was out cycling and was hit by a car, and he later died of his injuries. Our thoughts and deep sympathy go to Chris Anker Sørensen’s family.”
The former professional rider retired in 2018 after a successful career mainly in the team of Bjarne Riis, turning professional with CSC and remaining through its incarnations as Saxo Bank and Tinkoff-Saxo before moving across to the Pro Continental outfit Fortuneo-Vital Concept in 2016. He ended his career with the Danish Continental squad Riwal and took up commentating for TV 2 Sport.
Sørensen was a talented climber and stage racer, and won a stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné (Dauphiné Libéré) in 2008. He went on to win stage 8 in the Giro d’Italia and served as an important domestique for riders like Andy Schleck. After the departure of Schleck for Radioshack, Sørensen led Saxo Bank at the 2012 Tour de France.
The organisers of the World Championships expressed their condolences, as did UCI president David Lappartient.
“Flanders 2021 and the UCI are saddened by the news that former rider Chris Anker Sørensen has passed in a traffic accident. Chris attended the 2021 UCI Road World Championships while working as an analyst for Danish television. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones,” race organisers wrote.
Lappartient said: “Words can’t express my sadness to hear of the tragic passing of former professional cyclist and journalist, Chris Anker Sørensen. To the family, friends and [Danish cycling] my deepest sympathies for this terrible loss.”
All of the Cyclingnews team extends of our deepest sympathies to Sørensen’s family, friends, former teammates and colleagues.
RIP Chris Anker Sorensen. As a rider he was selfless and full of grit. In the media compound he was just as generous and friendly. Thoughts are with his family and friends. https://t.co/6k2Ps9SMsuSeptember 18, 2021
Words can’t express my sadness to hear of the tragic passing of former professional cyclist and journalist, Chris Anker Sørensen.To the family, friends and @dcucykling, my deepest sympathies for this terrible loss. pic.twitter.com/qFK2dXN4RISeptember 18, 2021
An example of fighting spirit. He embraced what cycling is all about.The Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert family is deeply saddened to learn the passing of Chris Anker Sørensen, and shares its thoughts of compassion to his loved ones. pic.twitter.com/PLkCZk6yXbSeptember 18, 2021
Our heartfelt condolences and thoughts go to the family, friends and colleagues of Chris Anker Sørensen. May he rest in peace! https://t.co/6ovmPo6T6gSeptember 18, 2021
go easy.. stay free.. push ligthly on the big heavenly velodrome may god give you peace 🙏🏻 Deepest condolence to your family pic.twitter.com/QPDA2ra915September 18, 2021
Oh no… this really hits home. So sad. Thoughts are with the family of @chris_anker https://t.co/ezp3VK3acgSeptember 18, 2021
This is tragic news. A rider I admired, a colleague and commentator I enjoyed talking to and asking his thoughts and expertise at races. He so freely gave his insight and advice after riding the courses every day. RIP Chris Anker. My thoughts are with his friends and family. https://t.co/yVeWDGbzGsSeptember 18, 2021