Tragedy-hit cycling team withdraws from Giro

Updated: May 11, 2011, 09:21 AM IST

Livorno: The Leopard Trek team withdrew from the Giro d`Italia a day after team member Wouter Weylandt died in a crash during the second stage the team announced in a statement.

The decision by the riders - who crossed the line alongside each other accompanied by Weylandt`s training partner Tyler Farrar in Tuesday`s third stage which was not contested as a mark of respect - was endorsed fully by the team managers.

"The decision needed to be taken by the riders, because they are the ones that participate in the race," said General Manager Brian Nygaard.

"We have always said that we would stand behind their choice."

"We wish to thank the other teams, the race organisation RCS, the Italian authorities and all the fans on the road between Genova and Livorno on today`s stage, as the peloton paid tribute to Wouter Weylandt."

Team captain Fabian Wegmann explained the rider`s decision.

"We have a lot of respect for the Giro d`Italia and for cycling, but we simply cannot continue racing given the circumstances. We are professional athletes, but we feel this is the right thing to do."

Weylandt suffered fatal skull and facial injuries as well as damage to his pelvis and a broken leg in Monday`s crash, Dr Armando Mannucci the pathologist who carried out the autopsy revealed earlier on Tuesday. A toxicology report is underway.

The 26-year-old crashed on the twisting descent of the Bocco mountain pass around 25km from the finish line on Monday`s third stage which ended in Rapallo.

While travelling at speed his left pedal briefly touched a wall at the side of the road, propelling him 20 metres to the ground below where he landed heavily on his face.

Weylandt`s parents and partner Anne-Sophie, who is due to give birth to their first child in September, laid flowers at the scene of his death also on Tuesday.

Bureau Report