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Retiring Wouter’s 108

It is being reported that in memory of Wouter Weylandt, the Giro d’ Italia is permanently retiring from their national tour the bib number he wore – 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?

6 Responses to “Retiring Wouter’s 108”

  1. My thoughts on retiring Wouter’s 108 from the #Giro. It should stay http://bit.ly/me8CWT

  2. Neil Browne (@neilroad) (@neilroad) May 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    @flammecast I wrote a quick post on your question of retiring 108. What do you think? http://neilbrowne.com/2011/05/retiring-wouters-108/

  3. Steve Compton May 11, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    I’m with you Browne Eye. Keep the number but designate it in pink or list it “W108W” or similar. Love the idea about placinghis bike the chapel.

    • Perry Seltz May 11, 2011 at 11:02 pm #

      Great idea. “WW108″ would be an inspiration to any rider.

  4. Flammecast May 12, 2011 at 3:11 am #

    Hey Neil,

    Thanks for the mention. As you rightly point out race numbers have no real significance to cyclists as they unlike other sportsmen aren’t assigned a ‘squad’ number for the year. However The chance to memorialise Wouter’s number had a short window, as witnessed by the fans on the stage run in waving copies of his dosssard. They recognised that he was rider 108, if for example the Giro organisers left it till next year to announce it would have lost it’s significance and power.

    Now his story and the number are forever intertwined and will continue in cycling folklore in Italy and his memory will continue on whenever a story is told. I would like to see something from him, like a bike, a jersey, a dossard placed in the Madonna Chapel as well it would be a fine honour.

    Regards
    Derek

  5. frankobones (@frankobones) June 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm #

    With no ‘home court’ I agree with making 108 a special designation each year rt @neilroad My Weylandt number idea http://t.co/ILlGIIS

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