Cycling: Tragedy strikes Giro d'Italia
Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt was tragically killed in a high-speed crash during yesterday's third stage of the Giro d'Italia.
The 26-year-old Weylandt suffered severe head injuries when he was thrown from his bike after his pedal caught in a wall at the side of the descent of the Passo del Bocco with around 25km to go on yesterday's stage to Rapallo.
Weylandt's head injuries could be clearly seen on live TV, with blood dripping from his face. His heart stopped beating after the crash and race medics spent over 20 minutes trying to revive him with a defibrillator and heart massage before he was airlifted to hospital in an emergency ambulance.
Italian television later announced his death.
In his seventh year as a professional, Weylandt was a well-known and popular rider and had won stages of both the Giro and the Tour of Spain.
Tributes poured in from riders all over the world upon hearing of his death.
Although the peloton continued unaware of the seriousness of the incident, stage winner Angel Vicioso and new race leader David Millar did not collect their respective awards after the stage, and the podium celebrations were cancelled.
Weylandt's Leopard-Trek team is likely to withdraw from the Giro today.
"On a day like this, all thoughts about results are irrelevant," said Saxo Bank director Bjarne Riis. "It's a devastating tragedy for Wouter's family, friends, team-mates and team. Our condolences go to all who knew Wouter."
A Leopard-Trek team statement read: "Our team-mate and friend Wouter Weylandt passed away. The team is left in a state of schock 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 our team, and we should all seek the support and strength of the people close to us."