Wouter Weylandt – Cycling unites in grief
Today was an especially moving day at the Giro. All the talk of race radio bans, break away leagues, and UCI approved equipment became insignificant. The images of the last three kilometers were an amazing display of unity within the peloton. Those who weren’t choked up by the sight of Garmin-Cervelo’s Tyler Farrar riding side by side with the Leopard-Trek team displaying his utter sadness for the death of his friend need to have their pulse checked.
The theme of this Giro is celebrating 150 years of Italian unity. It was nice to see that for a day the peloton could also unite and show their respect for Wouter Weylandt, who tragically lost his life in yesterday’s stage.
I watched the Eurosport coverage of David Harmon and Sean Kelly. They did a very tasteful and respectful job of reporting on such a heart-wrenching event.
Tomorrow the racing begins again – just as life must go on for those who have suffered a loss of a loved one. Rivalries will be renewed and debates will continue regarding the many issues that are facing the UCI. But for one day that was all put aside and the professional peloton just rode their bikes. The Leopard-Trek team will continue, but stage 3 won’t be far from their minds. Farrar has decided to return to his European base of Belgium to grieve.
My thoughts are with Wouter’s friends and family.
Leopard-Trek has decided to leave the Giro d’Italia.
The riders of LEOPARD TREK wish to communicate that they will leave the Giro d’Italia as of tonight, following the tragic accident of their teammate and friend Wouter Weylandt.
This choice of the riders has the full support of the staff and management of LEOPARD TREK. General Manager Brian Nygaard: “The decision needed to be taken by the riders, because they are the ones that participate in the race. We have always said that we would stand behind their choice.”
“We wish to thank the other teams, the race organisation RCS, the Italian authorities and all the fans on the road between Genova and Livorno on today’s stage, as the peloton paid tribute to Wouter Weylandt.”
Team Captain Fabian Wegmann explains the rider’s decision. “We have a lot of respect for the Giro d’Italia and for cycling, but we simply cannot continue racing given the circumstances. We are professional athletes, but we feel this is the right thing to do.”