Retiring Wouter’s 108
This idea started to see some traction yesterday on Twitter then was announced today. While I don’t think this is a “wrong” move by the organizers I think his memory would be better served if it was left in the bunch with a special designation attached to it. In a symbolic way Weylandt would then be forever in the Giro.
In many sports a player’s number is significant. Here in the South the number 3 is linked with NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt as it was “his” number. Also, retiring a number makes sense in many sports as it is hung on the wall of the player’s home stadium for all to see.
There is no permanent stadium to hang Wouter’s Giro bib number. There is no permanent number that cyclists receive. Typically the team leader receives the first number and the other members of the team receive the sequential numbers. The defending champion is issued number 1 with no consideration of ranking in the sport.
I’m not criticizing the Giro organizers in any way. This thought came to me when I saw the @flammecast Twitter account asked if it was a good idea to retire the number from all Grand Tours. Perhaps take his number and bike and place them in the Madonna del Ghisallo chapel which is along the route of the Tour of Lombardia? This isn’t a stadium, but for cyclists all over the world this is our sanctuary to visit and show respect for the legends of the sport who have passed.
What do you think?