The Giro d’Italia today remembered Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt, who died one year ago during the race’s third stage. The organiser held a minute’s silence in Horsens, Denmark, following Weylandt’s favourite song, Sex on Fire.
“For Wouter we are having a party,” race director, Michele Acquarone told Cycling Weekly. “We want to remember when he won in Middelburg in the third stage two years ago, not when he died in Rapallo last year.”
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Racing for team Quick Step, Weylandt took his biggest career win in the Giro d’Italia in 2010. The race started in Amsterdam, travelled through the countryside, where he won the final stage before a transfer into Italy.
On May 9 last year, racing for Leopard-Trek, the 26-year-old crashed on the descent of the Passo del Bocco. He hit his head and died almost instantly. It was the fourth death in the race’s 100-year history.
Giro organiser RCS Sport has permanently retired the race number 108, which he was wearing last year. It also decided to dedicate the third stage to him every year.
“His number 108 is no longer in the race, which means he’s always in the race with his number,” Acquarone said. “For his memory it’s great, but it’s hard, it’s not easy.”
Acquarone dined with Weylandt’s family last night. Today, they attended the stage start.
“They said that they think it will be the last time they watch a race because when they went to the races, they cheered for him. Now, they feel empty.”
The race also honoured Jan Trojborg, the mayor of Horsens who died yesterday due to a heart attack. The 56-year-old left two children and his wife.
“It’s important to enjoy life every day,” Acquarone added, “because it can all go in a minute.”
Riders pay tribute to Wouter Weylandt in Horsens prior to stage three of the 2012 Giro d’Italia
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