The world’s top cyclists were in shock after Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt died following a crash during the Giro d’Italia.
Medics rushed to try to save the 26-year-old after his fall, 25 kilometres from the end of the third stage of the race. He was found unconscious with blood coming from his mouth and nose.
After being given cardiac massage at the scene, Weylandt, whose girlfriend is five months pregnant, was airlifted to hospital, but pronounced dead before further treatment could be given. Organisers cancelled the podium celebration.
Tragedy: Weylandt died during the third stage of the Giro d’Italia
Britain’s David Millar, who is leading the race, said: ‘Being in first place has no meaning. I can’t imagine what his family are going through.
‘I will wear the pink jersey tomorrow, but it will be in memory of Wouter. There is no celebration or glory, only sadness. It is a sad reminder of the risks we take and the lives we lead.
‘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.’
Shocking scenes: Cameras picked up the incident (above) and Italian Luca Guercilena, team manager of Leopard, speaks to the press after the accident
Britain’s Mark Cavendish said on Twitter: ‘Things like this shouldn’t happen. Absolutely sick to the stomach. My thoughts are with his family. RIP Wouter Weylandt.’
The Giro, one of cycling’s top three events, will continue but Leopard Trek could pull out of the race.
General manager Brian Nygaard said: ‘All our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Wouter. The team in Italy will decide on our further race participation.
‘We are in a state of shock and sadness. 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.’
Giro race doctor Professor Giovanni Tredici said: ‘Weylandt was the victim of a fall and we are still trying to establish exactly what happened.’ ‘We tried for 40 minutes to resuscitate him but there was nothing we could do.’


Hollow victory: Spain’s Angel Vicioso celebrates as he cuts the finish line to win the third stage of the Giro d’Italia, following Weylandt’s death


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