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Movistar to continue in Giro in the wake of Tondo's death

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Xavier Tondo

Xavier Tondo (Image credit: Luis Enrique Barbosa)
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Xavier Tondo (Movistar) on the podium to receive the final leader's jersey.

Xavier Tondo (Movistar) on the podium to receive the final leader's jersey. (Image credit: Team Movistar)
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New race leader Xavier Tondo (Movistar) relaxes on stage.

New race leader Xavier Tondo (Movistar) relaxes on stage. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Movistar’s Giro d’Italia squad has unanimously decided to continue in the race in the wake of the tragic death of their teammate Xavier Tondo on Monday morning.

Tondo, who was set to lead Movistar’s Tour de France challenge, was struck by a garage door in a freak accident in Granada, Spain, ahead of a planned training ride to Sierra Nevada.

Movistar riders and staff at the Giro d'Italia held a meeting at the team hotel in Conegliano on Monday afternoon to discuss the possibility of withdrawing from the race. Team management had left the final decision to the riders themselves, and they opted to continue racing when the Giro resumes on Tuesday after its second rest day.

“We’re destroyed, but we have decided that the best thing is to honour Xavi on the bike,” Movistar manager Eusebio Unzue said. “We gave the freedom to each rider to do what he wanted, but all of them were in agreement that the best tribute was to continue in the Giro.

“Since this morning, we’ve been in constant contact with his family. The rest of the team will be there at the funeral, but we’re convinced that Xavi would have liked us to have continued competing.”

Tondo joined Movistar ahead of the 2011 season, and though a newcomer to the squad, Unzue explained that Tondo had fitted in from the beginning. “He hasn’t been with us long but it’s seemed like a decade,” he said.

Giro d'Italia organizers announced that tomorrow in Belluno before the start of the stage, the entire caravan of the Giro will observe a minute’s silence in memory of Tondo.