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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 February, 2004, 01:52 GMT
Belgian cyclist found dead
Belgian cyclist Johan Sermon has been found dead from apparent heart failure in his sleep.

The death of the 21-year-old, an under-23 rider with the Daikin team, emerged just hours after Italian cycling star Marco Pantani was also found dead.

A Belgian radio station reported that Sermon's mother found his body on Friday morning.

He had apparently gone to bed early on Thursday to prepare for an eight-hour training ride.

Police were investigating Sermon's death.

Sermon's team manager and former president of the Belgian cycling federation, Ernest De Vuyst, said the cyclist had recently undergone a complete cardiovascular check up.

But he added that the cause of death appeared to be heart failure.

"Doping appears to me to be excluded," De Vuyst was quoted as saying.

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