Tragedy Strikes Giro: Vicioso Wins Stage 3, but Weylandt Dies in Crash
Angel Vicioso (Androni Giocattoli) has won Stage 3 of the 2011 Giro d'Italia.
Angel Vicioso (Androni Giocattoli) has won Stage 3 of the 2011 Giro. The Spaniard took a five-up sprint to win the hilly, 173-km ride from Emilia to Rapallo in 3:57:38. David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) finished second, and Pablo Lastras (Movistar) took third. Millar took the maglia rosa, but tragedy overshadowed the day's exploits. Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt (Leopard-Trek) died in a crash on the Passo del Bocco.
From the start, the racing was fast. Several abortive sallies took place before Bart De Clercq (Quick Step), Gianluca Brambilla (Colnago-CSF Inox), Pavel Brutt (Katusha), and Davide Ricci Bitti (Farnese Viti-Neri Sottoli) escaped at 32 km. The quartet forged a six-minute lead by 60 km, when the bunch began to chase.
Lampre-ISD, HTC-Highroad, and Saxo Bank-SunGard took turns leading the pursuit. Gradually, the peloton brought back the break and reeled it in completely with 13 km left. Before the catch, however, tragedy struck.
With 25 km left, on the descent of the Passo del Bocco, Weylandt had been dropped and was looking for a group of dropped riders to get back on with. His left pedal or handlebar stuck in a wall, and he was estimated to have fallen 20 m. According to a statement taken from a witness, Manuel Cardoso (RadioShack), "he was catapulted across the road."
Race doctors arrived quickly and performed cardiac message and administered adrenaline and atropine injections. An emergency helicopter arrived and took Weylandt to a hospital, but the Belgian could not be saved.
According to Giro d'Italia doctor Giovanni Tredici, "He died from a fracture to the front of his skull. We arrived at the scene 30 seconds after the crash. There was nothing we could do to revive him."
Ahead, the leaders, unaware of the tragedy unfolding behind them, continued to race. On the day's last climb, Christophe Le Mevel (Garmin-Cervelo) attacked, and Lastras, Daniel Moreno (Katusha), and Vicioso followed. On the descent, Millar bridged up to the break. Millar led the quintet into the final km, but Vicioso burst past the Scot for the win.
When the day's winners learned about Weylandt's death, all thoughts of leadership and victories dissipated. The podium ceremony was cancelled, and Millar said of his race lead, ""It means nothing. I can't even imagine what his family are going through. It's terrible."
In honor of Weylandt, Stage 4 has been neutralized. The peloton will ride, not race, the flat, 216-km ride from Quatro dei Mille to Livorno. At the end, Weylandt's Leopard-Trek teammates will be allowed to cross the finish line first as a tribute to him. There is no word about whether Leopard-Trek will continue in the Giro after Stage 4.
Roadcycling.com extends its deepest sympathy to Wouter Weylandt's family, friends, and teammates, and to all in the cycling community whom this tragedy has moved. We have chosen not to show any photos of the terrible accident.