Former Dutch pro Lieuwe Westra Dies At Age 40

Lieuwe Westra, a former Dutch pro, died at the age of 40. His biographer, Thomas Sijtsma, said Sunday morning that the news was true.

“Lieuwe Westra” died in the afternoon on Saturday. “In the last few years, the former cyclist fought with himself and lost,” Sijtsma wrote. “Go to sleep, beast.”

Former Dutch pro Lieuwe Westra Dies At Age 40
Former Dutch pro Lieuwe Westra Dies At Age 40

Westra quit his job at the beginning of 2017 because he was depressed. Since then, he has had some hard times, like getting divorced and selling the cycling hotel he built with his ex-wife.

He was found dead Saturday in Zwaagdijk, the Netherlands. The cause of death is still unknown. Westra, who was known as “The Beast,” raced for 11 years with Vacansoleil and Astana and had won 13 races by the turn of the last decade.

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On his palmarès, he has won stages at Paris-Nice, the Tour of California, and the Critérium du Dauphiné. He has also won the overall Tour of Denmark and the Driedaagse De Panne. The strong rider from Mûnein also helped Vincenzo Nibali win the yellow jersey at the 2014 Tour de France.

After he retired, Westra wrote a full biography called Het Beest. In it, he talked about the times he did drugs. Pro cyclists have already started to pay tribute, including his former teammate Johnny Hoogerland.

“Lieuwe, my friend. What happened to you all these years? We are so terribly sad that your life ended already today. I’m very sorry that we could not help you more. Will never forget what you did for me when we were teammates, Hoogerland wrote. Find peace above us.

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