News tidbits from the Giro d'Italia
Remembering Wouter Weylandt, two years on
Today marks the two-year anniversary of Wouter Weylandt's death in the Giro d'Italia, and the Belgian rider is still well-remembered within the peloton. He died after a crash in the third stage of the 2011 Giro.
His team, now called RadioShack-Leopard, this morning tweeted: “Today is a day to live with what we have and mourn what we have lost. Never forget. #ww108 #sempreconnoi”.
On its Facebook page, Team Blanco posted a photo of the sign-up board for the Giro, with “Sempre Con Noi!!” (“always with us”) written on the number 108. That was Weylandt's dossard number in the 2011 Giro, and has been retired.
“Two years ago Wouter Weylandt left us. Ciao Wouter, you'll be forever in our heart #WW108 #giro,” tweeted the Giro.
Brambilla down but not out
A large crash in the peloton 185km into stage 4 resulted in Gianluca Brambilla (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) seeking medical treatment at day's end.
The Italian fell onto his right wrist and arm in the crash and was taken for X-rays soon after he crossed the finish line, over 17 minutes behind stage winner Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox). The news was good however, with no fracture found, according to a team press release.
"I was riding in the peloton when suddenly somebody in front of me hit their brakes," Brambilla said. "I had to brake also, but somebody touched my bike from behind and I fell. Fortunately the speed wasn't so high. I had a few scratches and pain on my right wrist, but that's ok. It wouldn't be anything serious. Tomorrow I will be at the start."
Cobo backs Nibali over Wiggins
Juan Jose Cobo got the better of Bradley Wiggins (Sky) at the 2011 Vuelta a Espana, and the Spaniard is not certain over the Briton's form at this year's Giro d'Italia.
Speaking to Reuters before stage 4, Cobo who now rides for Movistar, said he does not believe that Wiggins is in the form that won him the Tour de France last July and that Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) should be rated as the top favourite.
"If Bradley had the same level as in last year's Tour then he's probably unbeatable, but that's not at all clear yet this season," he said.
"Nibali has been very strong in all the races he's done this year and Wiggins hasn't yet had a chance to show his hand.
"Hesjedal has been very active in a lot of races, too, and yesterday (Monday) when he attacked on that last climb, he showed he's got really good form," he said.
"That was very impressive, and he's the most recent winner of the Giro. He's somebody who has to count."
Cheng Ji out with fever
Cheng Ji of Argos-Shimano, the first Chinese rider in the Giro d'Italia, has had to abandon the race due to illness. The team said that the 25-year-old developed a fever overnight.
“When a rider has a fever, it is dangerous to let him start, even if he might be better tomorrow. He did not eat this morning and felt very weak,” said team doctor Edwin Achterberg. “We don’t want to take any risks—health comes first.”
“I felt really good during the first few days, and especially after John Degenkolb’s win yesterday,” said Ji. “I just got sick during the night, and it is really hard to leave this beautiful race already. It was my goal to support John to a stage win and to finish this race. So I am very disappointed that I can’t reach the second part of my goal.”
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