Stage tribute to tragic cyclist

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GENOA, Italy, May 10 – A tribute will be paid to Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt, who died following an horrific crash on the Giro d'Italia, during Tuesday's fourth stage, organisers said.

The 216km stage from Genoa to Livorno will be preceded by a minute’s silence, with the race being transformed into a procession rather than a competitive stage.

The riders will relay each other at the head of the peloton in order to keep up a sustained rhythm with Weylandt’s Leopard Trek teammates invited to cross the finish line in the lead.

Leopard Trek general manager Brian Nygaard added: "We will start Tuesday out of respect for the family Weylandt and also to share our grief with the world of cycling.

"The boys were totally devastated. If there is anyone who did not want to continue, we accept that."

 This same tribute was made during the 1995 Tour de France in memory of Italian rider Fabio Casartelli who was killed in the descent from Portet d’Aspet.

Weylandt, 26, crashed on the twisting descent of the Bocco mountain pass around 25km from the finish line on Monday.

Race officials said 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, and appearing to land heavily on his face.

An autopsy into his death will take place on Tuesday.

Weylandt was in his fifth year as a professional cyclist, and was due to become a father for the first time in September. His biggest wins were stage victories in the 2010 Giro d’Italia and the 2008 Tour of Spain.

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