Tuesday, 10 May 2011

A sad day for cyclists

I first got the cycle racing bug 18 years ago (how time flies) when I had nothing else to do on sweltering hot afternoons but lay on the sofa, with Littleone kicking away in my tummy, and watch Tv. More or less every year since Victor and I, with brother Steve from Uk when poss, have struggled up mountainsides to nab a good place for watching the race pass us by. Whiling away time waiting for the cyclists to arrive, preceded, one hour before, by the publicity caravan and the TV helicopter, watching people dressed in pink, set up barbeques, have a drink or three, and even impromptu folkloristic displays. And even though the flight past rarely lasted more than a few minutes it was always well worth it.
But each year, without fail, the overall winner turns out to be a cheat and we feel that, yet again, we've been let down.

This year just about every team captain or big name has a drugs record. Yet when the race arrived in Reggio I just had to go for old times sake.

IF I Knew then what I know now I might have given it a miss.

Ihad a nostalgic morning picking up freebies and VIP spotting. And although the locals hardly joined in the festive atmosphere, moans about disruptive traffic and not a single pink ballooon in sight I sussed out the park where the cyclists coaches parked and even exchanged a few words with MARK. (As in Cavandish the Cannonball, holder of the pink jersey). Well I got his autograph and wished him luck!!!

And I thought the departure of the caravan and cyclists along the ancient Roman main street was spectacular.

But what a blow when I got home in time to see the arrival and learned that there had been an accident, a Belgian cyclist, Weylandt, had fallen off, broken his skull and instantly died.

Today, the day after, the cyclists are off on their next stage but there is no competition. Church bells toll when they pass. The different teams take turn to lead the pack but the finishing line will be crossed by the poor cyclist's 8 team mates dressed, obviously, in black.


Paula said...

How tragic . . . yet, they seem to be honoring him at each stage . . which, if it was the idea of the cyclists, is humbling.

Life is so fragile, and each and everyone of us seem to take it for granted.

suse-the-slow-knitta said...

so sad :(
I love the way the other cyclists are honouring though