The Belgian cyclist suffered from a heart muscle disorder after being involved in a traffic accident last September
Former Jumbo-Visma socialite Nathan van Hooydonk admitted on Tuesday that he knew his professional cycling career was over even before doctors revealed he had an illness. Heart muscle dysfunction.
“I don’t really remember the accident. I remember, above all, the sadness I felt, because even before the doctors told me, I knew that my career as a professional runner was over,” said the 27-year-old. A former long-time runner, in an interview with Belgian daily newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
On September 12, Van Hooydonk He lost control of his car after feeling unwell while drivingafter he collided with other vehicles when he unintentionally approached an intersection, while driving his car with his pregnant wife next to him.
He praised, saying: “I spent a terrible week in the hospital, despite the great support I received from the medical team and, above all, from my family, who were by my side every day.”
Eight days after the accident, Jumbo-Visma announced that a defect in the heart muscles had put an end to the Belgian cyclist’s career.
Hooydonk was given an internal defibrillator to “correct possible future arrhythmia.” The Dutch national team statement said: “After comprehensive examinations, Van Hooydonk was diagnosed with a muscular heart defect, which caused the problem that almost ended his life. These discoveries mean the end of his professional career.”
In the interview with Het Laatste Nieuws, the Belgian also spoke about the birth of his son, just over a week after the accident that left him in a hospital bed.
“I am fully aware that I would not have had the opportunity to hold my son in my arms,” admitted the former cyclist, who actually lost his child a few days after his birth, at the beginning of 2022.
The Belgian was one of the community members of the Jumbo-Visma team, the world’s top team, after helping Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard win the last two editions of the Tour de France.
With no professional victories on his CV, he was one of Vingegaard’s closest teammates, the Tour champion and part of the trio of Jumbo-Visma riders who took the podium at the Vuelta, which was won by American Sepp Kuss – with Primoz Roglic finishing second.
Van Hooydonk began his career at Bissel, a development company, in 2014, moved to the WorldTour’s BMC team in 2017, and also spent time at the CCC before joining Jumbo-Visma in 2021, helping to not only secure the two victories In the Danish round, too. And another for Slovenian Primoz Roglic in the Tour of Spain (2021).
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