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belgian cyclist dies in giro d'italia

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Post by Fernando Tue 10 May - 4:49

BELGIAN cyclist Wouter Weylandt has died after crashing on the third stage of the Giro d'Italia.

The 26-year-old Leopard Trek rider fell off his bike in the descent on the Passo del Bocco in northern Italy, just over 15 miles from the finish line.

Eyewitnesses say his left pedal got stuck in a wall on the side of the road before he fell 60 feet to the ground below.

Weylandt lay motionless and was bleeding heavily on the roadside as paramedics cut off his helmet and tried to resuscitate him.

Giro doctor Giovanni Tredici said: "We arrived immediately as we were behind his group.

"He was unconscious with a fracture of the skull base and facial damage.

"After 40 minutes of cardiac massage we had to suspend the resuscitation because there was nothing more we could do."

Weylandt was later airlifted to hospital but was pronounced dead before further treatment could be administered.

Leopard Trek spokesman Tim Vanderjeugd said: "I can confirm the death of Wouter Weylandt. He was taken to hospital but had already died at the scene."

A further statement from Leopard Trek general manager Brian Nygaard read: "Today, our team-mate and friend Wouter Weylandt passed away after a crash on the third stage of the Giro d'Italia.

"The team is left in a state of shock and sadness and we send all our thoughts and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Wouter.

"This is a difficult day for cycling and for our team, and we should all seek support and strength in the people close to us."

The podium celebration at the end of the race was cancelled by organisers.

Weylandt won stage three of the same race last year, and also stage 17 of the 2008 Vuelta a Espana.

Tributes were quick to emerge from other riders.

Britain's Mark Cavendish said on Twitter: "Things like this shouldn't happen. Absolutely sick to the stomach. My thoughts are with his family. RIP Wouter Weylandt."

Australian Robbie McEwan simply said he was "devastated".

Weylandt was the first rider killed in a crash in one of cycling's three main tours since Italian rider Fabio Casartelli died during the 1995 Tour de France.

At the Giro, Weylandt is the fourth cyclist to die during the race and the first in 25 years. Orfeo Ponsin died in 1952, Juan Manuel Santisteban in 1976 and Emilio Ravasio in 1986.

In March 2003, Kazakh rider Andrei Kivilev died after he fell from his bike and fractured his skull while not wearing a helmet during the Paris-Nice stage race.

The International Cycling Union subsequently made the wearing of hard helmets compulsory.

Italian cycling federation president Renato Di Rocco said Weylandt's death left the sport "in anguish."

He said: "My first thoughts go to his family, his teammates, managers and technicians and the Belgian cycling federation, to which the entire cycling community offers its support.

"We are all affected by this grief, caused by the imponderable, which is always a risk despite the measures made to insure maximum safety.

"From that point of view, the organizers did everything possible with great professionalism and timeliness. Faced with a tragedy like this no words are adequate."

it's a great shame and my thought are with his family x

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