RAPALLO, Italy — The professional peloton reacted with shock and sympathy Monday at the tragic death of popular Belgian Wouter Weylandt following a crash on the third stage of the Giro d’Italia.
Some of the reactions:
Leopard-Trek manager Brian Nygaard:
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.
UCI president Pat McQuaid:
On behalf of the whole cycling family, the UCI President M. Pat McQuaid wishes to extend his deepest sympathies to all members of Weylandt’s family, all his friends and teammates, but also to all his colleagues on the Giro, who will have to overcome their grief to continue in the race.
Team Quick Step:
On behalf of the entire Quick-Step Cycling team our 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.
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.
David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo), the new Giro leader after Monday’s stage:
I love cycling, and I’ve always been enchanted by the epic scale of it all, it was why I fell in love with it as a boy. Yet Wouter’s death today goes beyond anything that our sport is supposed to be about, it is a tragedy that we as sportsmen never expect, yet we live with it daily, completely oblivious to the dangers we put ourselves in. This is a sad reminder to us, the racers, what risks we take and what lives we lead.
Wouter was a sprinter, this means he was one of the most skillful bike handlers in the peloton, for this to have happened to him shows that we are all at risk every single kilometre we race.
My wife was in tears when I spoke to her after the race because she couldn’t understand why the live television was showing him receiving medical attention when in such a horrific state. All she could imagine was that it was me. I haven’t told her yet, that like her, Wouter’s girlfriend is five months pregnant.
I am trying to imagine what that would be like to see the person I love most in the world in those circumstances. I can’t, and in honesty, I don’t want to.
Within our team we have one of Wouter’s best friends, Tyler, in a way he was Ty’s European brother. The next few days are going to be very difficult for us as racing cyclists, but for Tyler, and the friends and family of Wouter it is going to be a lifetime of loss.
I will wear the pink jersey tomorrow, but it will be in memory of Wouter, there is no celebration or glory, only sadness. I will discuss with Tyler, Leopard and the family of Wouter what we as a peloton will do tomorrow.
Photographer Graham Watson:
As Leopard-Trek’s team photographer, I got to know Wouter just this year, he was as nice as everyone else kept telling me! It is a horrible tragedy that he has died doing something he loved; at least on this day our beautiful sport is anything but…