I would like to express my deepest sympathies to Wouter's family and friends.
Such a tragedy... But I will continue to ride and will strive to do my best in doing so, just as he has always done.
On the eve of Giro d'Italia 2011
This is my second participation in a Grand Tour. I have been targetting Giro since early spring and am in a good form. My foremost objective is to work for the team and contribute to the team wins.
This year's Giro is a TOUGH one with hard mountains, but I've trained well so am not too worried. The 2009 Tour was my first-ever grand tour, and my riding was somewhat conservative (at least I feel that way). But this time, I would like to be more aggresive!
I want to ride courageously thoughout Giro, to give encouragement to those affected by the mega-earthquake that hit Japan. I've always been encouraged by the cheerings from the fans lining the streets, and now I want to return this kindness by riding like that all the way to Milan. I will be wearing a wristband with a message saying "You are NOT alone".
7th May, Sat, Stage 1
We went into this 1st stage without being too concious about the stage win. We simply have to ride well, without running a risk of crashes. Despite the festive mood of the Giro opening, we could ride with good concentration. I rode at the front a fair amount of time. I don't feel we missed a stage win; rather, we managed to do our best. Good start. Tomorrow is the real start of the 3-week race.
8th May, Sun, Stage 2
Heat on top of the distance! The stage turned out to be tougher than it appeared on the course profile. I worked up a good sweat and also earned good miles in the legs. Today I carried bottles 3 times - 9 bottles each time, so it makes 27 bottles in total. No one wanted any bottles from the last batch after the speed increased towards the last kilometres. My teammates were like "why the hell are you carrying those bottles right now?" but I don't think it was a waste. You'd always want to make "triply" sure.
Regarding the sprint, my mission was to place my teammates at the front before the street becomes narrow. It went well. Although the team couldn't produce a good result, I think I did a 100% job and am riding well.
9th May, Mon, Stage 3
Wouter Weylandt passed away following a crash on the descent of Passo del Bocco. He was riding alone ahead of me. The moment he glanced behind he crashed into the stone wall on his left.
He was a Belgian sprinter, around my age, was always friendly and we chatted frequently. I'm in shock and grieving for him. My thoughts are with his family and friends.
In the race our team leader Tiago Machado crashed on a descent and we used a lot of energy to bring him back. I lost contact with the main group on the last climb but my legs didn't feel bad. I am determined to continue working for the team.
(Original text by Fumiyuki Beppu, Translated by Maki Terao)