Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt was killed Monday in a high-speed crash during the third stage of the Giro d’Italia in Rapallo, Italy.
Weylandt is the first rider to die in a major race in 16 years.
Weylandt, 26, fell as the riders descended 12.4 miles from the finish in northern Italy. Race officials say his left pedal got stuck in a wall at the side of the road and caused him to fall. Paramedics were unable to revive the Leopard-Trek rider, who lay motionless and bleeding heavily at the side of the road.
“We arrived immediately as we were behind his group,” Giro doctor Giovanni Tredici said. “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 the victim of a fall and we are still trying to reconstruct the dynamics of what happened. We tried immediately but he was already unconscious, his condition was already compromised.”
“Just back from a run and got the news of Wouter Weylandt’s death today in the Giro,” Lance Armstrong tweeted. “I’m shocked and saddened. May he rest in peace.”
We lost a great team mate and a true friend today. Our thoughts are with Wouter’s family and friends.
Team Leopard manager Brian Nygaard issued a statement on their official website, saying: “Our teammate 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 all the family and friends of Wouter,” Team Leopard manager Brian Nygaard said in a statement on the Leopard-Trek website. “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.”
Weylandt is 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.
Things like this shouldn’t happen. Absolutely sick to the stomach. My thoughts are with his family. RIP Wouter Weylandt.