Video production by Caley Fretz
CARRASCO, Italy (VN) – A nondescript stretch of Italian road claimed the life of Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt on Monday.
VeloNews visited the scene of the crash site Tuesday to better understand what might have caused his tragic death and to take a closer look at the road conditions.
The crash site was about 25km from the finish line of Monday’s stage, just near the bottom of the most challenging part of the descent of the Cat. 3 Passo del Bocco. The area is heavily wooded and a deep ravine cut through just to the left of the road.
According to race information and comments from riders who saw the crash, Weylandt was off the back of the peloton and had just through a sweeping left-hander onto a relatively straight, slightly descending section of the road. Weylandt rode alone ahead of a group of about 20 chasing riders.
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There was nothing particular dangerous or technically challenging on the sector of road where Weylandt lost control of his bike. The road surface was smooth, about 18 feet wide, with a guard-rail and a low stone barrier on the left side of the road and a road-cut, wall-like area on the right.
According to Manuel Cardoso, a Portuguese rider on RadioShack, Weylandt looked over his left shoulder as he came onto the straighter section of road to gauge his position to the other riders. That glance probably cost Weylandt his life.
“Wouter was dropped and tried to come back to the group,” Maertens wrote of Cardoso’s reaction. “(Weylandt) then looked behind to see if he would be better to wait for other dropped riders (some 20). While looking behind, he hit with his left pedal or the left side of his handlebars on a small wall and was catapulted to the other side of the road when he hit again something. It must have been terrible.”
Italian police chalked out marks on the road of impact areas from the crash that confirm Cardoso’s account. On Tuesday morning, there was evidence a skid mark just ahead of the stone wall where it appeared Weylandt struggled to control his bike. There was also clear chip mark at pedal-level where it appeared Weylandt likely hit the stone wall.
Impact marks chalked out by Italian police were still visible Tuesday afternoon that reveal the likely trajectory of Weylandt’s bike and body. There was a deep gauge in the road surface where it appears Weylandt’s bike hit the road surface some 30 feet past the stone wall. Two impact marks were circled by police where it appeared Weylandt impacted the road. In total, it was about 90 feet from where Weylandt likely hit the stone wall to where his body came to rest.
When VeloNews visited the site, Weylandt’s mother and fiance had already left bouquets of flowers. Neighbors from the nearby villages also paid their tributes with bouquets and local cyclists visited the site, leaving a momento or simply stopping to honor the fallen rider.