Matters of life and death: spate of heart attacks leave the sport running
We're only a few days into 2004 and already this year we have lost another
former European professional to a cardiac related death.
It's the European scene's sixth death by cardiac arrest in less than 12
months. The latest was Dutch former professional Michel Zanoli, who was 35
and was a past stage winner in the Tour of Spain.
Since January 2003, the following riders, in addition to Zanoli, have died
from heart attacks:
24 year old Italian, Marco Rusconi, was leaving the birthday party of a
friend last November when he collapsed and died in a shopping centre car
23 year old French professional Fabrice Salanson died in bed in his hotel
room, during the night before the first stage of the 2003 Tour of Germany.
32 year old Italian Denis Zanette died last January of a heart attack,
shortly after routine dental treatment.
32 year old Spaniard Jose-Maria Jimenez, formerly of the Banesto team,
died last December of an apparent heart attack, while being treated for
depression in a Madrid clinic.
16 year old Italian elite amateur Marco Ceriani experienced a heart attack
during a race, was admitted to hospital in a coma, and failed to recover
While various explanations have been given for these deaths, it's also worth
noting that none of these very disconcerting cardiac incidents occurred
during competition (unlike say, the sudden collapse of soccer player
It's been a worrying time for all concerned; whatever the cause and effect,
how have you our readers and the sport's fans reacted to these shocking
events? Are you satisfied by the explanations that have been given for these
untimely deaths? Are you happy with the UCI's response to the media
speculation over these incidents? What more could be done to safeguard the
health of professional riders?
We'd like your views on this sensitive but very important topic. Mail us