Alex Massie

Wouter Weylandt’s Cortege

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There was no racing in the Giro d'Italia yesterday. Instead the peloton rode at a funereal pace to honour Wouter Weylandt, the Belgian sprinter killed in a crash on Monday. Then Weylandt's Leopard-Trek team-mates came to the front to lead the field into Leghorn. With them was Garmin-Cervelo's Tyler Farrar, Weylandt's best friend in the peloton. Watch from the 25 minute mark if you like:

Dignified. Emotional. Perfect. And something you never want to see again.

As I said on Monday, however, it's amazing how rare these deaths are (and Weylandt, the pathologist reported, almost certainly died instantly). By my back-of-an-envelope calculations* the peloton completes about a million miles of cycling in the Grand Tours each year and Weylandt's death was the first in any three-week race since poor Casartelli in 1995. Given the speeds and risks of life on the road it's surprising, but mercifully so, we don't have to endure these scenes more often.

See Richard Moore for more reaction.

(I'd planned to post a shorter clip of this yesterday but some idiot broadcaster removed it from YouTube)

**Based on150 riders completing 3,400km per tour. The actual figure is probably higher still.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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