Instead of a rider, which has always been the case since the inception of the award in 1989, a team, Leopard Trek, has earned the Bonacossa Trophy at this year's Giro d'Italia in the name of their rider Wouter Weylandt who tragically died during stage 3. The Luxemburg ProTeam crossed the finish line of stage 4 in Livorno ahead of the peloton and withdrew from the Italian Grand Tour the same evening.
The Bonacossa Trophy designates the protagonist of the best exploit at the Giro. It's a tribute to one of the founders of the Olympic movement and of Italian sports daily newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, Cesare Bonacossa, and his son Alberto who continued his father's enterprise.
Since 1989, the Bonacossa Trophy has been awarded by a panel of journalists to Flavio Giupponi and successively to Gianni Bugno (1990), Franco Chioccioli (1991), Miguel Indurain (1992), Claudio Chiappucci (1993), Marco Pantani (1994), Mariano Piccoli (1995), Enrico Zaina (1996), Ivan Gotti (1997), Marco Pantani (1998), Paolo Savoldelli (1999), Francesco Casagrande (2000), Mario Cipollini (2001 and 2002), Alessandro Petacchi (2003), Damiano Cunego (2004), Ivan Basso (2005 and 2006), Gilberto Simoni (2007), Emanuelle Sella (2008), Carlos Sastre (2009) and Cadel Evans (2010).
During the Giro d'Italia Weylandt has been remembered daily by the fans, the riders, the race organisation and the media. The most common message on the along the stage routes each day has been "108 (the Belgian's back number) presente (present)".
Some riders, including most of those from Weylandt's former team Quick Step team, kept a black band on their arm till the end of the Giro. Matteo Montaguti from Ag2r-La Mondiale wrote on his helmet: "Wouter nei nostri cuori" (Wouter in our hearts).
Giro organiser Angelo Zomegnan looked after Weylandt's family when they flew to Italy and attended the funerals in Belgium. Each day at the Processo alla tappa, Italian TV star commentator Alessandra Di Stefano showed the facebook page set up for donation to Weylandt's widow An-Sophie who is expecting a baby.
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