Giro d'Italia - Leopard-Trek withdraw from Giro
Wouter Weylandt's Leopard-Trek team pulled out of the Giro d'Italia a day after the Belgian rider died in a crash, the Luxembourg-based team has announced.
"The riders of Leopard-Trek wish to communicate that they will leave the Giro d'Italia as of tonight, following the tragic accident of their team mate and friend Wouter Weylandt," the team said in a statement.
Weylandt, 26, died after crashing during the third stage on Monday. Tuesday's results did not count as the riders took part in a 'stage of respect' for the rider.
Leopard-Trek's team manager Brian Nygaard said in the statement: "The decision needed to be taken by the (team's) riders, because they are the ones that participate in the race. 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 of Germany said the riders did not have the strength to continue racing.
"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."
On Tuesday, with the pace deliberately slow and the results for stage four not counting, team after team took over at the head of the pack during the 216-km ride from Quarto dei Mille to Livorno.
Weylandt's eight remaining Leopard Trek team mates, accompanied by the Belgian's close friend Tyler Farrar of the United States, fought back tears as they moved to the front of the bunch with four km to go and crossed the line together with their arms round each others' shoulders.