Stage three of the Giro d’Italia began in a fitting way as riders spent the morning remembering Wouter Weylandt, who died on stage three of the race the year before.
Riders removed their helmets and stood in remembrance of their fallen colleague as a replay of Weylandt’s 2010 victory of stage three replayed from 2010.
Weylandt’s best friend Tyler Farrar stood at the front of the pack, head held high, thinking of all his best memories with the former Leopard-Trek teammate.
“It’s good to remember Wouter, ” said Farrar’s team-mate Chistian Vande Velde . “He was a funny guy, a nice guy. We should appreciate what he did in his life.”
“The older you get the more you appreciate the dangers of racing. But we’re not going to dwell on it when we’re racing, that’s when bad things happen, you just have to do your own race, and reflect later.”
“I’ve worn this bracelet since they were given to us on the Tour of California last year, there’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about him”, referring to a narrow black bracelet with the words ‘In Memoriam Wouter’ engraved on his wrist.
“It’s good to digest this tragedy, life goes on and we’re here to race, but we should not forget about it,” added Frank Schleck, also racing in the Giro d’Italia.
“When I heard the news, you can imagine how bad we felt. Something you never forget. Of course it’s hard, there’s no words to describe it.”
“My best memories of Wouter are him racing. He was a great friend and a great team-mate.”
“It’s logical and right to have a ceremony like this when a rider dies, above all because of the way it happened,” added Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez, who placed fifth in last year’s Giro d’Italia.
“Cycling isn’t that dangerous a sport, and that’s why when accidents like this happen, they have such a huge impact.”
The Giro d’Italia resumes on Monday with another flat stage in Denmark before moving to Italy on Wednesday following a rest day.