We had a long series of articles ready for you: on the NBA Playoffs which we’ve begun watching avidly; another excellent Grand Prix, this time in Turkey; Novak Djokovic’s incredible run including his huge victory over Rafael Nadal; and on the early stages of the Giro d’Italia. However, as we were intently watching the third stage of the Giro, everything came shuddering to a halt.
With twenty kilometres remaining, the riders were engaged in a typically tricky high-speed descent when twenty-six year old Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt crashed heavily. The race continued as medical assistance was quickly administered, but with around five kilometres to ride the commentators announced that Weylandt had died. Seeing this unfold live was shattering. We mentioned in an earlier posting that, unlike with car racing, with cycling you never ever want to see accidents. This is why. He was wearing a helmet, was a professional rider for the last six years, and was reputed to be an excellent descender. All of which counted for nothing.
In a morbid example of irony, Weylandt won the third stage of the Giro last year. He also had a stage win in the Vuelta a Espana to his name, and this season had joined the newly-formed Leopard Trek team which features heavyweights such as multiple World Champion Fabian Cancellara and the Schleck brothers. At only twenty-six he was set to be a star of the future; now he leaves behind his young girlfriend who is due to give birth to their first child in September, which, frankly, is too awful to contemplate. So that’s where we’ll end it today.
Please ride safely. Back Friday.