Weylandt dies in tragic crash. A Giro in mourning.
Congratulations to Angel Vicioso Arcos (Androni Giocattoli) for winning the Giro stage into Rapallo in a thrilling breakaway. Congratulations to David Millar (Garmin Cervelo) for bridging up in the two kilometers, racing to second place and taking the maglia rosa.
That’s said, it’s hard not to wish this stage had never happened because then 26 year old Wouter Weylandt would still be alive. No race in the world is worth this kind of loss.
The rider for Leopard Trek crashed descending the Passo del Bocco. Race medics carried out cardiac massage for about 25 minutes and administered adrenaline and atropine. He was then airlifted to a hospital but new reports indicate he died on the spot. “His heart has stopped beating,” announced RAI’s head of sport Auro Bulbarelli.
As details of the crash emerge, the impact sounds horrific. Race officials report that his left pedal got stuck in a wall at the side of the road, throwing Weylandt 20 meters to the ground below. He’s the first rider to die in a crash since Kazakhstan’s Andrei Kivilev in 2003 at Paris-Nice.
Podium ceremonies were cancelled in Rapallo as everyone involved in the Giro — organizers, riders and fans attempt to come to terms with the tragic news. Even from a distance of several thousand miles, it’s difficult to comprehend or accept. Tributes to Weylandt are already pouring in.
We know nothing about Wouter Weylandt other than the fact that he’s Tyler Farrar’s best friend. That right there tells us he’s a super nice guy. They both live in Ghent and often train and socialize together. Weylandt’s girlfriend, Sophie, is expecting the couple’s first child in September.
Anyone who follows the sport of pro cycling knows that every crash is a roll of the dice. Most times, it’s road rash or at worst a broken collarbone but once in a while the result is catastrophic. We’ve all been there — a fast descent, a pothole we didn’t see, so lucky we didn’t kill ourselves.
The video image was disturbing: three men huddled over a fallen rider sprawled on the road, not moving at all. We waited nervously for updates and the longer the clock ticked with no news, the worse our fears became. We prayed he was okay, a case of “looked worse than it was.”
It wasn’t and our heart goes out to Weylandt’s family and friends. You look at the smiling face above, so full of life and energy and death seems an impossibility. The Giro rides on but Wouter is gone.