This morning I am home not feeling well and had some time to make a post or two.
Yesterday during the third leg of the Giro d' Italia, one of the largest stage races in the world, Wouter Weylandt died in a terrible accident. Here are some articles about what happened. In summary he fell 200 ft after clipping a pedal on a rapid decent about 20K from the finish. He died instantly, leaving behind his pregnant girlfriend.
Today the Giro was back on but the racing was not. I love the sport of cycling. In mass all the cyclists decided not to race but rather to ride in unity the entire 200K. Not as a form of protest against any number of issues that have been discussed but as a show of respect for Wouter's passing.
Not only did all of the racers ride in solidarity, there were record numbers of spectators that came to the road sides not to watch racing but to pay their respects Wouter and to what these riders were doing.
Here are some screen shots of the final few kilometers. As the peleton stayed together they dropped back enough for Wouter's team Leopord Trek to move to the front and fan out across the road. After a couple minutes the Leopord Trek team notice Wouter's best friend Tyler Farrer (Team Garmin) riding back in the peloton and they motioned for him to join them in the line across the front of the race. Tyler is the third from the left joining the group in this screen shot.
Here is the peleton directly behind the Wouter's team.
Cycling is a great sport. Not only is it a test of personal strength and endurance but it is a test of teamwork and patience. These men want to beat each other but they also have tremendous respect for each other. They spend hours together and each is extremely competitive. As teams they work hard to put one man on the podium. There are many more selfless riders working to get one man across the line first. Wouter was one of those team members, he worked for years not to be the first across the line in the general classifications but to help his team captain finish first.
His specialty was sprinting. Each team member has something they specialize in. Some are sprinters working to get sprint points for the team, some are climbers working to get the climbing points and some are domestiques who role is to do a lot of the hard work on the flats. Ultimatly all of these team members are working to get their team leader across the finish line at the end of the tour with the fastest time.