Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt killed in Giro d’Italia

BELGIAN cyclist Wouter Weylandt has died after an accident today in stage three of the Giro d’Italia.

The Leopard-Trek rider fell heavily during a high-speed descent around 12 miles form Rapallo, where the stage ended.

Medical personnel were on the scene within seconds to administer CPR and battled for 40 minutes to save him but the injuries to the 26-year-old were too severe and he died at the scene.

A statement from Leopard Trek general manager Brian Nygaard read: “Today, our team-mate and friend Wouter Weylandt passed away after a crash on the third stage of the Giro d’Italia.

“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.

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“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.”

The sport’s ruling body, the International Cycling Union, added: “The UCI has heard of Wouter Weylandt’s death with great sadness and president Pat McQuaid’s thoughts and prayers go to the rider’s family and friends, but also to the riders, who will overcame the shock to start to race again tomorrow.”

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The podium presentation at the end of the stage was cancelled.

Leopard-Trek will decide later whether to continue racing.

Weylandt is the first rider in 16 years to die in one of the three grand tours; Fabio Casartelli was killed in the Tour de France in 1995.

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