Ex-cyclist Lieuwe Westra dies at 40

Shock in the world of cycling. Ex-cyclist Lieuwe Westra passed away on Saturday at the age of 40. Thomas Sijtsma, his biographer, reported his death on Twitter. “He fought with himself in the last few years and he lost,” he shared Sunday. The Dutchman suffered from depression for several years, but his cause of death is still unknown. He was found on Saturday at his company in Zqaagdij, in the Netherlands, and did not respond to resuscitation.

Lieuwe Westra was born in Munein, the Netherlands, and was known as The beast, for his ability to suffer on the bike. Since his teens, he trained going from Afsluitdijk to Friesland. He made the leap to professionalism from KrolStonE, and later signed for Vacansoleil. He played LaVuelta a España in 2009 with this team, and later won a stage in Paris-Nice in 2012. He moved up to the Astana first team in 2014 and took overall victory at the Tor de France that same year. He won two national titles against the clock and overall victories in the 2012 Tour of Denmark and Tres Días de la Panne in 2016, as well as the Paris-Nice, Dauphiné and Volta a Catalunya stages.

He retired in 2017 and admitted that he had used caffeine pills, bronchodilators and pain relievers during his career. He had achieved many of his achievements thanks to doping. “I’ve never run a race without it,” he said in 2018. He also faked some injuries so he could use prescription cortisone. He was clear that he couldn’t reach his goals without help.

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