6 Feb 2009

Cyclist dies in sleep during Tour of Qatar

7:14 am on 6 February 2009

The cycling world is in shock after promising rider Frederiek Nolf of Belgian died in his sleep following the fourth round of the Tour of Qatar.

The race's fifth stage was cancelled, but the peloton gathered to ride the 40 kilometre route from Doha's Camel Track to the finish at Qatar Foundation building as a sign of respect.

It was the 21-year-old's first race of the season in his second year as a professional.

The race director Eddy Merckx says everyone is in a state of shock, but it is specially difficult for his friends and family.