David Millar became the first Brit to wear the leader's jersey in all three Grand Tours and only the third Brit to take the Giro d'Italia's pink jersey today in Rapallo. However, the day ended tragically for him and the rest of the peloton with the news of Wouter Weylandt's deadly crash.
"There's no point in even dedicating anything to Wouter because it does not even do it justice," Millar told Cycling Weekly. "I just feel so horrible for his family. I can't imagine what his family is going through."
Weylandt's crashed into a wall, on a descent around 23 kilometres from the finish. Millar and the other riders ahead were unaware of the crash and its consequences. He jumped ahead with four kilometres remaining and joined an escape group with Garmin-Cervélo team-mate Christophe Le Mevel, Pablo Lastras (Movistar), Daniel Moreno (Katusha) and Ángel Vicioso (Androni).
Vicioso won the stage, but Millar gained enough time to take the leader's pink jersey from Mark Cavendish. He now leads by seven seconds over Vicioso. As soon as he finished, though, he heard the news from a journalist. In fact, race organisers cancelled the stage podium presentation and Millar only received his pink jersey while waiting for an anti-doping control.
"I tried it on, took it off and handed it back [to a Garmin helper]," said Millar. "That sums up the day. I said, 'This is weird.'"
Millar was less concerned about the jersey and more concerned about Weylandt, his family and team-mate Tyler Farrar. Farrar is based in Ghent, Belgium, and trains often with Weylandt.
"It's the unthinkable, my poor wife is distraught. It doesn't even bear thinking how horrific it must have been for Wouter's family watching it on TV," continued Millar.
"I am not looking forward going back to the hotel because he's Tyler's best friend. I am honestly a bit concerned about how he is because he is an emotional young man. He was so close to Wouter, it was like one of his brothers. It's just horrible."
Millar is the only British rider to wear the leader's jersey in all three Grand Tours. Brits have worn the pink jersey five times in the Giro: Cavendish three times - two days in 2008 and once this year - and Bradley Wiggins once last year. Though Millar had it on for a minute today, he's unsure if he'll wear it tomorrow.
"I don't think it will make a difference if I wear it or not."
Giro d'Italia 2011: Related links
Giro d'Italia to continue after Weylandt tragedy
Wouter Weylandt killed in Giro crash
Giro d'Italia 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
Giro d'Italia 2011: Start list
Giro d'Italia 2011: Latest news
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
Motorway cyclist arrested for causing danger to road users and suspected possession of Class A drugs
The rider was on the M3 in the early hours of the morning
By Michelle Arthurs-Brennan • Published
Five talking points from stage eight of the Giro d'Italia 2022
What we learned from an exciting day of intense action
By Ryan Dabbs • Published