May 09, 2011

Belgian cyclist dies in Giro D'Italia crash: Today was a tragic day in professional cycling. 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 unable to be revived by paramedics and doctors.

posted by misskaz to other at 12:11 PM - 7 comments

I heard that the cause was his pedal locking up on a big bad descent.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:37 PM on May 09, 2011

Watching the descents always terrifies me. Now I have to decide if I even want to watch today's stage on my DVR when I get home tonight. Probably not.

posted by misskaz at 12:56 PM on May 09, 2011

I watched the stage live on TV and I'm still shaken up by it. I would recommend you don't watch a recording of it. Unfortunately there are some fairly graphic images.

Cycling is a dangerous sport, but things like this are still shocking and tragic. 26 is no age to die. RIP Wouter.

posted by afx237vi at 04:20 PM on May 09, 2011

So tragic. The descent are exciting and terrifying in racing. Always freaks me out when someone falls on one. But I've been reading things from people who think the sport needs to make it more safe, i.e. better helmets. Obviously that wouldn't have helped here since he landed on his face (from what I saw on cycling tv last night). I don't know how it could be made safer. They are already required to wear helmets the entire race.

posted by skippy at 02:13 PM on May 10, 2011

I don't think a helmet would have saved him, no matter how he landed. The purpose of a bicycle helmet (or a motorcycle helmet or a ski helmet, for that matter) is to turn an unmitigated disaster into a mitigated one. If you've ever seen someone take a relatively low-speed crash that results in a solid shot to a helmet-clad head, you'll know what I mean. That happened to my sister-in-law once when we were mountain biking, and she still got a moderate concussion. Without the helmet, the injury would have been much more severe, but the helmet doesn't create some kind of magic bubble. Hitting a hard object with your head at high's over.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:36 PM on May 10, 2011

It's an interesting point - to what extent does the helmet make certain activities MORE dangerous because of the (erroneous) sense of inviincibility it gives the participant? (I'm thinking of the number of serious injuries in American football compared to rugby.)

Terrible, unspeakable thing to see someone lose their life like that. Cycling is a dangerous sport, and the cyclists "know" that death is a possibility, but I'd suggest they don't really. I think if you really knew it, you wouldn't do it.

On the plus side, glad not to see anyone on here trot out the old horseshit about people dying doing what they loved. I'm in the kind of mood where such willful ignorance would have sparked a fire under me and resulted in some shouting.

posted by JJ at 06:01 AM on May 11, 2011

Watching stage 4 yesterday, with the cyclists all riding in tribute and not racing, and Wouter's Leopard-Trek team crossing the line side-by-side was incredibly moving. It is interesting that cycling has these sorts of traditions/tributes within the scope of the competition. RIP Wouter.

posted by misskaz at 10:19 AM on May 11, 2011

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