Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt was pronounced dead Monday following a horrific crash on the third stage of the Giro d'Italia, his Leopard-Trek team confirmed.
"Today, our teammate and friend Wouter Weylandt passed away after a crash on the third stage of the Giro d'Italia," said Leopard-Trek Manager Brian Nygaard.
"The team is left in a state of shock and sadness and we send all our thoughts and deepest condolences to the family and friends of Wouter. "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, 26, was left bloodied and unconscious and requiring a cardiac massage after a crash which occurred on the descent of the Bocco mountain pass around 25km from the finish line.
Race officials later claimed his left pedal got stuck in a wall at the side of the road, forcing Weylandt to tumble around 20 metres to the ground below. He received emergency medical treatment by race doctors and was scheduled to be airlifted to hospital but had to wait as an emergency helicopter looked for a suitable landing spot.
The head doctor on the race Dr Tredici said they had battled in vain to save Weylandt's life. "We were in the car behind the peloton. We arrived around 30 seconds after the accident but even then there was little we could have done. It was a very serious case," he said. "A few minutes later the ambulance with the CPR equipment arrived and we tried to bring him back to life." "His heart has stopped beating," announced Auro Bulbarelli, the head of sport for RAI television who first broke the tragic news.