Giro leader to wear maglia rosa in honour of fallen Belgian
David Millar (Garmin-Cervélo) has vowed to wear the Giro dItalia’s maglia rosa in honour of Wouter Weylandt, who tragically died during stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia.
The Leopard Trek rider crashed on the descent of the Passo del Bocco and despite immediate medical assistance, he died from his injuries.
Millar and the rest of the peloton were unaware of the severity of the situation and the Briton countered a four man move in the closing kilometers. He missed out on the stage win, but did enough to claim the leader’s jersey. The podium ceremony was understandably cancelled.
“I will wear the pink jersey tomorrow, but it will be in memory of Wouter, there is no celebration or glory, only sadness. I will discuss with Tyler [Farrar], Leopard and the family of Wouter what we as a peloton will do tomorrow.”
Farrar was a close friend of Weylandt and the American apparently dropped his bike at the finish when he was told of the news.
“Within our team we have one of Wouter's best friends, Tyler, in a way he was Ty's European brother,” continued Millar.
“The next few days are going to be very difficult for us as racing cyclists, but for Tyler, and the friends and family of Wouter it is going to be a lifetime of loss.
“I love cycling, and I've always been enchanted by the epic scale of it all, it was why I fell in love with it as a boy. Yet Wouter's death today goes beyond anything that our sport is supposed to be about, it is a tragedy that we as sportsmen never expect, yet we live with it daily, completely oblivious to the dangers we put ourselves in. This is a sad reminder to us, the racers, what risks we take and what lives we lead.
“Wouter was a sprinter, this means he was one of the most skilful bike handlers in the peloton, for this to have happened to him shows that we are all at risk every single kilometer we race.”
“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. All she could imagine was that it was me. I haven't told her yet, that like her, Wouter's girlfriend is five months pregnant.
“I am trying to imagine what that would be like to see the person I love most in the world in those circumstances. I can't, and in honesty, I don't want to.”
It is unclear as to whether the Leopard Trek team will retire from the race or continue. However, it is understood that the peloton will mark the sad loss of such a young, talented and well-liked rider tomorrow.