Our Beautiful Sport

It’s been a dramatic month in cycling. So much bad news has overshadowed all the things I love about the sport. Wouter Weyland, more Armstrong and UCI allegations, and now Xavier Tondo.

All of this will never take away from the fact that cycling is the most beautiful sport in the world. No other competition transforms small towns, back roads, and mountain tops into stadiums, so naturally connects with it’s fans, and brings out so much emotion.

thanks to Cycling Tips,

Photos by Veeral Patel, Sirotti, and RCS

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May 13, Stage 7 : Maddaloni – Montevergine di Mercogliano 110km

De Clercq prevails on first summit finish (persoonlijk in de top 3 van spannenste Giro etappes dit jaar).

Bart De Clercq announced his arrival on the professional scene with victory in Santuario Di Montevergine on a day where the favourites had to mark each other and did so on the final climb, setting up an intriguing second week of the season’s first Grand Tour.

The Omega Pharma-Lotto Belgian attacked with eight kilometres remaining and benefited from the youthful enthusiasm of a neo-pro to hold on for a memorable win on what was arguably the Giro’s most decisive day in terms of the general classification battle, where the complexion of the overall standings became a little clearer.

Asked if he thought about compatriot Wouter Weylandt – who died following a crash in stage three – during his solo escape before winning this afternoon, De Clercq admitted that he didn’t but was quick to add, “I want to dedicate this win to Wouter and his family; it’s really difficult for them at the moment.”

 

As the 24-year-old hit two kilometers to go, the gap had blown out to 1:05, the victory certain – or so it seemed. In the final 300 metres Scarponi, Kreuziger, Garzelli and Nibali charged hard at the young rider but he managed to hold on for the win by a very narrow margin.

Video: Millar and Le Mevel suffer but enjoy the Giro mountains

By:Cycling NewsPublished:May 23, 10:00,Updated:May 23, 09:55Edition:Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 23, 2011Race:Giro d’Italia

Briton compares himself to racing pioneer Octave Lapize

David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo) described stage 15 of the Giro d’Italia as epic, admitting he felt like racing pioneer Octave Lapize, who won the 1909 Tour de France and accused the race organisers of being assassins while riding the Col de la Tourmalet.

“It’s cycling on an epic scale. It’s classic Giro. I suppose we can’t really complain because we kind of sign up for it but it is madness.”

Christophe Le Mevel suffered but was still smiling when he made it to the Garmin-Cervelo team bus. His suffering was less than many of his teammates after finishing 21st on the stage, 10:03 behind Contador.

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Video: Downing makes it through the mountains

By:Stephen FarrandPublished:May 23, 10:39,Updated:May 23, 10:41Edition:Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 23, 2011Race:Giro d’Italia

Team Sky rider talks about surviving in the Giro

Russell Downing (Team Sky) is riding his first grand tour and suffered on the first big mountain stage to Grossglockner on Friday after coming down with a cold. However he made it up the Zoncolan on Saturday and finished in the gruppetto on Sunday after climbing the five major climbs during the 22km stage.

“I was yo-yoing off the back of the gruppetto on Friday and only just made it back on a couple of times but fortunately that was the worst moment,” he told Cyclingnews.

“I spun a low gear up the Zoncolan and fortunately today we had a big [time] limit to play with. I’ve made it and now I’m even looking forward to the last week of the race.”

Cyclingnews caught the moment Downing made it back to the Team Sky bus after the stage to Gardeccia. He was tired and a little unsteady on his legs after eight and half hours on the bike but was happy to have made it.

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Xavier Tondo dies in domestic accident

By:Cycling NewsPublished:May 23, 11:08,Updated:May 23, 13:11Edition:Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 23, 2011

Spanish pro rider dies in freak accident at home

Xavier Tondo died on Monday morning after suffering a freak accident at home in Granada. According to reports in the Spanish press, Tondo’s garage door fell on him as he was preparing to leave for a training ride in the company of teammate Beñat Inxtausti.

The news of Tondo’s death was confirmed by Movistar manager Eusebio Unzue, who explained that he did not yet have the full details of how the accident took place. It is still unclear precisely how the accident took place, but it is understood that Tondo and Inxtausti were planning to ride up Sierra Nevada as they continued their build-up to the Tour de France.

The 32-year-old Tondo turned professional in 2003 with Paternina. He signed for Movistar at the beginning of this season, after an impressive 2010 campaign with Cervélo TestTeam, which included a 6th place finish at the Vuelta a España. In Movistar colours he captured the Vuelta a Castilla y León and was set to be a mainstay of the squad’s Tour de France plans.

Tondo’s fellow countryman Alberto Contador led the tributes via Twitter. “Life is so unjust and difficult to understand at certain moments, it’s impossible to describe my feelings on the death of Xavi Tondo,” Contador wrote. “My most sincere condolences to his family. He was an incredible person who loved this sport like nobody else. You will be missed. Rest in peace.”

The Giro d’Italia organisers have said that there will be a minute’s silence before tomorrow’s stage in Tondo’s memory.

Tributes pour in for Wouter Weylandt

By:Cycling NewsPublished:May 9, 17:28,Updated:May 9, 19:27Edition:Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 9, 2011Race:Giro d’Italia

Peloton reacts to news of Weylandt’s death

Walter Planckaert, Topsport Vlaanderen: Wouter was the best friend of Fred Nolf, who died in his sleep during the Tour of Qatar in 2009. I had just now the father of Frederiek on the line. That man is really broken. These are two friends who really tragically died.

Vincenzo Nibali: I can’t find any words to complain my feeling about Wouter death.it’s surreal. all my thought for his wife, family and friends. Ciao Wouter.

Ivan Basso: It’s incredibile how much destiny could be tragic. My condolences and a hug to family and friends. Rest in peace, Wouter

Andrei Tchmil and Team Katusha: In the face of this terrible tragedy, that will leave its indelible scar on this Giro d´Italia story, we can only express our sympathy to his family of this guy, to the trainers and the riders of Leopard Trek, hit by this mourning. The Giro should be, as always, a big sporting celebration. But, from tomorrow on, riding a bike will be much more difficult for everybody.

Johan Museeuw: When I saw him fall, I knew immediately it was serious. The resemblance to Casartelli was striking. We’re all grieving. Weylandt was a young rider who had all his life before him.

Brian Nygaard (Leopard Trek): All our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Wouter. The team in Italy will decide on our further race participation tonight.

Bjarne Riis (Saxo Bank): On a day like this, all thoughts about results are irrelevant. It’s a devastating tragedy for Wouter’s family, friends, teammates and team. Our condolences go to all who knew Wouter.

Jonathan Vaughters (Garmin Cervelo): Peace be with you, Wouter.

Theo Bos (Rabobank): Geen woorden voor, verschrikkelijk. (No words, terrible.):

TeamRadioShack: On a day like today we are all teammates. We send our best thoughts to Wouter Weylandt and his team, friends and family.

Koen De Kort (Skil-Shimano): Unbelievable horrible news. Thoughts go out to Wouter’s family and wife.

C.J. Sutton (Sky): I’m speechless. My thoughts go out 2 wouter weylandt’s family and friends. Such sad news. He was a good friend. RIP wouter. U will be missed

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad): Things like this shouldn’t happen. Absolutely sick to the stomach. My thoughts are with his family. RIP Wouter Weylandt.

Richie Porte: Today really puts everything in perspective, such a tragedy. RIP Wouter and thoughts with his family, friends and team mates.

Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step): What a terrible news! This can’t be true!

Lars Boom (Rabobank): RIP Wouter Weylandt.

Robbie McEwen (RadioShack): Devastated. Wouter Weylandt

John LeLangue (BMC Racing Team): RIP Wouter @wouterweylandt; all my prayers are going for him and his family

Viatcheslav Ekimov (RadioShack): Its numbing! RIP Wouter Weylandt. All thoughts to his family his friends and his team mates.

Russell Downing (Team Sky): after seeing that i feel sick inside…Rip wouter .. u will be sadly missed . lost for words

Johan Bruyneel (RadioShack): Such a sad day for our sport. RIP Wouter Weylandt. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. I’m shocked.

Greg Henderson (Team Sky): Such a sad sad day. RIP Woulter. Thoughts are with family. Speechless.

Allan Davis (Astana): Just got home from 6hrs 30min training to the deverstating news of my old teammate Wouter Weylantd, R.I.P mate.

Jesse Sergent (RadioShack): Such a sad day for cycling, really unbelievable! RIP Wouter Weylandt. Thoughts go out to all his family, friends and teammates.

Manuel Quinziato (BMC): Rest in peace Wouter! I can’t believe it’s really happened!

Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank): Speechless.

Geraint Thomas (Sky): Horrible news about Wouter!! Thoughts with his family, friends and team mates!! RIP mate

Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank): Just read the news. My thoughts go out to family and friends of Wouter Weylandt. Hoped I had seen the worst Giro crash ever in 2009!

Bradley Wiggins (Sky): Days like this put this great sport we love into perspective, Wouter rest in peace now mate, thoughts are now with the family and freinds!

Mark Renshaw (HTC-Highroad): Shocking to hear the news after the stage. Nobody wants this in cycling. Thoughts go out to his family and.friends. RIP Wouter Weylantd

Ted King (Liquigas-Cannondale): Prayers going where they need to go. Go tell someone you love them and mean it.

Steven De Jongh (Former Quick Step): No words , just tears. My thoughts go out to his family

Ben Swift (Sky): RIP Wouter Weylandt. Very sad day things like these shouldn’t happen. Very shocked.

Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervélo): Rest in peace, Wouter. And to his family, friends and teammates, I am deeply sorry for your loss. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Movistar Team: Our thoughts are with the family and teammates of Wouter Weylandt, who passed away during today’s Giro stage. Rest in peace.

 UCI: The UCI has learn the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt during the stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia.

On behalf of the whole cycling family, the UCI President M. Pat McQuaid wish to extend his deepest sympathies to all members of Weylandt’s family, all his friends and teammates, but also to all his colleagues on the Giro, who will have to overcome their grief to continue in the race.

Weylandt dies in Giro d’Italia crash

By:Cycling NewsPublished:May 9, 16:32,Updated:May 9, 17:27Edition:Second Edition Cycling News, Monday, May 9, 2011Race:Giro d’Italia, Stage 3

Leopard-Trek’s Wouter Weylandt was fatally injured today in a crash on the third stage of the Giro d’Italia. The 26-year-old went down on the Passo del Bocco and was unconscious at the scene.

Paramedics worked to revive the Belgian, doing CPR for an extended period of time before airlifting him to a nearby hospital. Doctors were unable to revive Weylandt.

“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.”

The third stage continued on, with riders not informed of the grave nature of Weylandt’s crash, but race organisers canceled the podium ceremonies for stage winner Angel Vicioso (Androni Giocattoli) and new leader David Millar (Garmin-Cervelo).

Weylandt began his professional career as a trainee with the Quick Step team in 2004, following a victory the U23 Tour of Flanders and podium placings at the U23 Paris-Roubaix and E3 Prijs Harelbeke.

While his first of six full seasons with Quick Step was delayed by a case of glandular fever, his promise in the Classics was demonstrated with a second place in the 2006 Nokere Koerse.

While he spent much of his time at Quick Step as one of Tom Boonen’s main helpers, he earned his victory in the top ranks in the 2007 Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, where he also took second overall. He followed that with the Ronde van het Groene Hart and stages of the Tour of Belgium and Ster Elektrotoer.

After taking his first Classics podium with a third in Gent-Wevelgem, Weylandt won the 17th stage of the 2008 Vuelta a España in his first Grand Tour appearance. He last year won the third stage of the Giro d’Italia, where he bested the top sprinters in the peloton after a marathon stage to Middelburg.

Weylandt signed with the nascent Leopard Trek squad for the 2011 season.

Cyclingnews extends our deepest sympathies to Weylandt’s family, friends and teammates.