The Volta a Catalunya observed a minute's silence at the start of stage 2 as a sign of respect to the victims of the Brussels attacks this Tuesday morning, with the Belgian teams and riders wearing black armbands during the stage.
Shortly before the race start this morning as riders were preparing to race, news continued to break of the attacks, and the peloton was quick to react, many, like Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez, using Twitter to express their solidarity with the victims.
Many of the Belgian riders in the peloton and their team-mates wore black armbands as a sign of respect during the stage. For a second time in two days, too, there was a minute's silence at the start of the race, on Monday for the 13 victims of the weekend's bus crash in Spain, on Tuesday for those in Brussels.
Belgian Thomas de Gendt was amongst the four breakaways during the stage and he was the last to be caught, only reeled in with 14 kilometres to go. Although the Lotto-Soudal rider said afterwards it had not been his intention to try and make a gesture with his breakaway, he said that, like all the Belgians in the peloton, the attacks had been uppermost in his mind throughout the day.
"We think about it, we saw the news this morning and two days ago we were in Zaventem [airport]" - to fly out to Spain - "in the same area as the attacks. It's horrible what has happened."
As he pointed out, being in the race and isolated during the stage from any later news made it even tougher, because "I don't know exactly what has been going on [during the day] in Belgium."
"The hard thing is, life goes on, and as we said in the bus in the morning, for us the race is important, but you don't think about the race sometimes. What happened in Belgium is horrible, and it's a strange feeling that it gets so close."
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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