September 24, 2017

Cyclist dies in Giro d’Italia

Wouter Weylandt was a good bloke by all accounts, who has died far too young. We certainly have to respect the risks these professional cyclist take to be the best.

Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt, 26, has died after crashing during Monday’s third stage of the Giro d’Italia.

The Leopard-Trek rider fell at high speed during a descent about 20km from the finish of the stage from Reggio Emilia to Rapallo.

Weylandt lay motionless as paramedics tried to revive him using CPR and cardiac massage.

“Despite immediate treatment there was nothing we could do,” doctor Giovanni Tredici told Italian television.

“He died from a fracture to the front of his skull. We arrived at the scene 30 seconds after the crash. We tried for 40 minutes to resuscitate him.”

Leopard Trek spokesman Tim Vanderjeugd said: “I can confirm the death of Wouter Weylandt.

“He was taken to hospital but had already died at the scene.”

Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong said on Twitter: “I’m shocked and saddened. May he rest in peace.”

Race director Angelo Zomegnan said he had taken every possible security measure prior to the tragedy but that they would now be beefed up.

“Since the crash, we’ve gone to great lengths to ensure the security measures already in place are being checked and reinforced by specialist teams,” said Zomegnan.

“No race in the world invests so heavily in ensuring we can come to the rescue of crash victims.”

Leopard-Trek general manager Brian Nygaard said: “Today, our team-mate and friend Wouter Weylandt passed away after a crash on the third stage of the Giro d’Italia.

“The team is left in a state of shock and sadness and we send all our thoughts and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Wouter.

“This is a difficult day for cycling and for our team, and we should all seek support and strength in the people close to us.”

The Quick Step team said their “hearts go out to Wouter’s family, friends and the colleagues of Team Leopard, in this sad, sad time”.

“For all of us, Wouter was a friend before he was a colleague. We remember him as an honest man, always available with a smile on his face and forever generous towards the next guy,” read a Quick Step statement.

“Wouter leaves us with a terrible sense of loss and unbearable grief. We want to remember him with arms held high, crazy with joy after a victory, like the one at Middelburg last year.

“This is the image of him that all of us will carry in our hearts forever.”

Australian Stuart O’Grady and the Schleck brothers, Andy and Frank, were among his team-mates at Leopard-Trek.

The podium celebration at the end of Monday’s stage was cancelled by organisers.

Weylandt was the first rider killed in a crash in one of cycling’s three main tours since Italian rider Fabio Casartelli in the 1995 Tour de France.

He is the fourth cyclist to die during the Giro and the first in 25 years. Orfeo Ponsin died in 1952, Juan Manuel Santisteban in 1976 and Emilio Ravasio in 1986.

Wouter Weylandt Facts •Born: 27/09/84, Ghent
•First professional victory: GP Briek Schotte, 2005
•September 2008: Wins 17th stage of the Vuelta a Espana from Zamora to Valladolid
•May 2010: Wins third stage of Giro d’Italia from Amsterdam to Middelburg in Holland.
•2011: Joins Leopard-Trek from Quick Step
•9 May: Dies, aged 26, after crash on third stage of Giro d’Italia