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Cycling | International Cycling

Riders set to neutralise Stage 4 after death



Giro d'Italia riders are planning a tribute to Belgium's Wouter Weylandt, who died after a crash on Monday, with the results from Tuesday's fourth stage unlikely to count.

"We will respect whatever decision the riders and Wouter's team, Leopard-Trek, will take," race director Angelo Zomegnan told a news conference.

"It is up to them to decide. But there will be no festive music or the usual celebrations, whatever happens. This is a press conference I wish I had never had to give."

Traditionally after a death in a race, a minute's silence is held at the start of the following day, the peloton will tackle the stage at a slow pace and the deceased rider's teammates come to the front of the bunch for the final kilometre.

The process is known as neutralisation.

Zomegnan said that on the Giro's eighth stage to Tropea, there had been plans to mourn the victims of a mass accident last December when seven amateur cyclists were killed by a car.

"Now, sadly, we have to pay homage to one more rider," he said.

"I feel obliged to share with you a text message I received today, reminding me that this is a sport where everybody applauds the riders, but that they all risk their lives in every single metre of the course.

"When something terrible occurs we all have to be by their side."

DESPERATE ROADSIDE STRUGGLE

Race doctor Giovanni Tredici revealed the battle to save Weylandt's life had been a desperate struggle by the roadside with the 26-year-old suffering multiple injuries including to his skull.

"The attempts to revive the rider lasted 45 minutes," he said.

"I was the first to intervene, I reached the scene barely 30 seconds after he had crashed, and I was quickly joined by other experts, including a team doctor.

"But the situation was very serious, we could not do anything despite our best efforts."

Zomegnan refused to reveal exact details of how the accident happened, saying it was being investigated by a magistrate who was talking to riders who had witnessed Weylandt's fatal crash.

He did say they had kept news of his death secret for a short time so that family members could be informed.

The Giro d'Italia finishes on May 29 in Milan.



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