Two Spoke Forums banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Everyone cross your fingers/start praying/whatever it is you might like to do for Wouter Weylandt of Leopard Trek.
 

Attachments

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,198 Posts
Cyclingnews.com just confirmed that Wouter has died following his crash. Devastating news.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,397 Posts
Wow. I've just now started to look at the elite racers of this sport as I have just started really riding myself. I happened upon this story on ESPN and the reality of how dangerous this sport can be hit me a little bit.

Prayers go out for his friends and family as they cope with the loss of a family member and friend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,223 Posts
Anyone know what happened in the crash? Was it a pack incident? Something break? Any way to know?

Racing anything has risks. For those that race, what it adds to life has to off set the possibility that it could also end life. Some time ago in F1 there were two fatal accidents and one extremely serious accident that involved a major closed head injury. This wasn't in a season. It was in a weekend.

On this sad sad day, let us learn from what happened to make future racers safer. Let us remember that they are men, not just racers. Let us pray in our own way for the family and friends, and let us do what we can if the opportunity arises to support those who miss him most.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,198 Posts
Anyone know what happened in the crash? Was it a pack incident? Something break? Any way to know?

Racing anything has risks. For those that race, what it adds to life has to off set the possibility that it could also end life. Some time ago in F1 there were two fatal accidents and one extremely serious accident that involved a major closed head injury. This wasn't in a season. It was in a weekend.

On this sad sad day, let us learn from what happened to make future racers safer. Let us remember that they are men, not just racers. Let us pray in our own way for the family and friends, and let us do what we can if the opportunity arises to support those who miss him most.
Details are still sketchy. I think this is for two main reasons. 1) It wasn't witnessed by a lot of riders both because of where in the field he was and the nature of the descent having lots of curves. 2) As you most likely know, Mark, the Italians take things like this very seriously as made quite infamous by the lengthy criminal investigation into Frank Williams, Patrick Head, Adrian Newey and others following the death of Senna at Imola which you referenced. It seems like most riders that did witness anything were being questioned as part of the beginning of an official investigation and not sharing a lot with the media.

What I have read so far from a few places indicates that he turned back to look to see if he should fall back into a group behind him while on the descent. He clipped his pedal on a wall or guard-rail which caused his bike to veer and he was thrown over the bars. PM discussions with Last_Place_Pete yesterday indicated to me that he would more understand the injury mechanism in this case than I do, so perhaps he can comment more.

Whatever the case, it is a sad loss. Today's stage has been neutralized, meaning the riders will ride at a slow pace in a pack with no racing today and no official results for the stage. American Tyler Farrar was best friends with Wouter and even chose to live in his hometown during the cycling season to be able to train with him. He is taking the loss very hard and is withdrawing from the Giro after today's memorial stage. This was released by his Garmin-Cervelo team and is a nice tribute to Wouter:

Yesterday evening, Farrar released the following statement, via the Garmin-Cervélo team:

“I am unbearably saddened by the loss of Wouter today. As many know, he was my friend, training partner, and in many ways, another brother to me. His death marks an irreparable change in my life but more importantly, in the lives of his family and most loved.

“Wouter was one of the kindest, funniest, and most admirable people I have ever had the opportunity to know and his death is a tragedy to his family, his friends, and to the sport as a whole. I can only convey my deepest of sympathies to everyone who cared about him as deeply as I did, especially his family, his friends, his team and his fans – we celebrate his life and morn his death in equal measure.

“Wouter was and is the soul of this sport we all love – an athlete who sacrificed himself for the better of many and a champion who celebrated each glory as a victory for his family, his team, and his friends and fans.

“I will remember him always, and will always strive to do him proud, as he has always done for the sport and people he loves.”

According to several media sources this morning, including Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsbald, Farrar will ride today’s stage, which is neutralised in memory of Weylandt, before leaving the race.

“Afterwards, Tyler will travel back to Belgium with a masseur from the team, who will assist him in this difficult time,” a Garmin-Cervélo statement reads.
---From velonation.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,223 Posts
Xela thanks for the reply. Yes I know about the Senna investigation, and frankly I will always believe that it was started because it was Senna. I also will always believe that it would have never happened if Senna had been killed in a Ferrari.

Now from what you tell me this type of accident was the type of accident that is just a part of the inherent risk of racing. Sounds like most accidents that many things had to have happened just as they did to add up to the sad outcome. Had he been going up hill when he clipped a pedal on the rail or wall, things might have been different. Looking back to check his surroundings was likely something he had done thousands of times without incident, even at speed. Still I wonder how many racers in the world that are top flight riders have NEVER crashed a bike during a race? My guess is zero, but this time the stars lined up for a tragic outcome.

Yet let's take this sad day and use it to dedicate ourselves to ride as safely as possible and to help others to do so as well. I can think of no greater tribute to a fallen cyclist.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,198 Posts
Leopard Trek has just come the front and fanned across the road for the final 3 km procession. They brought Farrar up with them. Live feed shows Farrar crying. Very moving.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Sorry if I am long winded here, I am going to try to explain this with as much detail as I can but in a way everyone can understand it...

What I have read so far from a few places indicates that he turned back to look to see if he should fall back into a group behind him while on the descent. He clipped his pedal on a wall or guard-rail which caused his bike to veer and he was thrown over the bars. PM discussions with Last_Place_Pete yesterday indicated to me that he would more understand the injury mechanism in this case than I do, so perhaps he can comment more.
As I told Xela yesterday, I'm no medical doctor but I was a medic in the US Army for 8 years. According to what statements I have read from the race doctor, Giovanni Tredici, Wouter Weylandt died as a result of a fracture to the base of the skull and attempts made to resuscitate were fruitless.

Like Xela explained, witness reports have stated that Weylandt hooked a pedal on a guardrail while looking to his rear. This caused his bike to veer into the wall which collapsed his front wheel and catapulted him off of his bike. I do not know how fast he was travelling at the time of the accident, but I do know the average pace for Stage 3 was 27mph so we can assume his speed was considerably more than this during the descent.

I was also unfortunately watching the live broadcast when the cameras cut to the scene of the accident and showed the medical staff beginning their treatments. It was clear to me that Weylandt landed very hard on his face (not his helmet). My guess is that he was unable to unclip from his pedals and his collapsed front wheel acted more as a pivot instead of a catapult, forcing him into the pavement face-first at nearly full speed (it was also stated that after his crash, Weylandt tumbled for approximately 65ft).

An impact of this nature would jerk the head straight back at a very high rate of speed and with great force. These types of fractures tend to involve the bones around the back of the skull and top of the neck. The hole in the base of the skull ("foramen magnum" in doctor talk) through which one's spinal column and blood vessels pass is often compromised in such an injury. Two ways this can result in instant death are:

1) Fractured bones around the opening can sever nerves and/or blood vessels (this can result in paralysis that can stop the central nervous system and/or hemorrhaging which can become fatal in as little as a few minutes).
2) The inertia from the accident can jerk the head with such force that the spinal cord can tear apart from the brain stem (basically, the brain is "unplugged" resulting in instant, and permanent, "lights out").


Given that footage shows no signs of breathing/movement and medical staff immediately starting CPR and other life-saving measures, I am sadly of the impression that Weylandt died almost instantly as a result of the crash. Motorsport fans may remember back to 2001 when Dale Earnhardt died at the end of the Daytona 500. He suffered the same type of injury as Weylandt did, albeit in a much different venue. Most motorsport organizations now require drivers to wear a HANS (Head And Neck Safety) device, which Earnhardt was famous for speaking out against, to prevent further losses to these type of injuries by keeping the head restrained from moving forward at great speed (ie a "whiplash" effect).


More info:

Basilar skull fracture - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Internal carotid artery - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

HANS device - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,198 Posts
Great explanation! Thanks for that.

Leopard Trek just announced on Twitter and FB that their entire team is withdrawing from the Giro. I know some will criticize this decision with the usual "he'd want them to race", "they're paid to race", etc., but I can't imagine those guys being able to continue with the concentration required to race at that level and not make any mistakes that would get another member hurt after something like this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Good decision, IMO.

*Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't some of them going to leave early regardless in order to make the Tour of California?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,223 Posts
A very good decision in my opinion. Unless you can totally focus, you can not and should not race. This soon afterwards such a level of focus would be impossible. Just because it just happened, doesn't mean it can't happen again.

Thanks for the info on what happened. Like you said it does sound like a basilar skull fracture and like you said such injuries can an often are instant. I find comfort in knowing he didn't suffer as he passed. It is what I suspected, and I appreciate the info.

One thing on Dale E's death though. Yes he spoke out against the HANS, but the Hans device would have done Dale no good. Dale had a different method of installing seat belts that was not recommended. He had run them that way if I recall correctly for a very long time with no problem, but that day he did. On that day his seat belts failed leaving him for all practical purposes unrestrained in the car. The hans device takes the force of the head going forward and transfers that energy to the seat belts. With a failed belt, it wouldn't have helped.

One more thing about Nascar. At the time they were talking about the Hans, there was something that few people know. Until that point it was totally up to the driver to insure their own safety. Helmets were not required until a few people trying to fight the hans said they were just going to not wear a helmet to keep from wearing a hans. Only then did they become a requirement, though in 40 years of following stock car racing I don't ever remember anyone getting in a race car without one.
 

·
spin... spin.. spin
Joined
·
1,623 Posts
in the spirit of cycling they should NOT RIDE and i commend them for their decision... i am sure like xela said, some will criticize this but they made the proper call, Weylandt would not ride if it had been someone else on the team....
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,198 Posts
As a small tribute on what would have been Wouter's 27th birthday (he was only 8 days older than my little sister), I wore an extra base layer for the ride to work this morning.

 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top