Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The greatest Tribute.

Today we remembered Wouter Weylandt in the most fitting way. As I watched today's coverage I was touched by the rolling memorial. Each team taking 10 kilometers to show their respect to Wouter. Each team silently on the front paying their respects to a man that gave his life to a sport he loved. Finally, at the end Leopold Trek taking the front, lined up in race order with Tyler Farrar, Wouter's best friend taking his positions in the line. Watching them come towards the line brought me to tears as you can see the sadness behind their sunglasses and helmets, and see some of the toughest athletes showing their grief at the loss of one of the friends.

David Millar showed pure class in orchestrating the memorial. He talked to the team and asked if they wanted him to wear the leaders jersey, and what they wanted to do. When they decided on the rolling memorial, he went around to all the teams and made it happen. He's a true patron of the peloton. Watching over them and being the voice of reason. Since his return he has greatly impressed me, and I have even further respect for him now.

The most stirring moment had to be when Tyler, out of respect for the team moved back to let Wouter's teammates cross the line together. The team, however, slowed and pulled him forward and the two closest members put their arms around him as he visibly broke down into tears. Wouter's 8 remaining teammates and his best friend crossed the line together as one, showing their respect for their fallen brethren. With Tyler being hugged as he crossed the line broken down.

It will forever be the a day that will be etched into my mind. Not only for the sadness, and reminder of the danger I face every day I get on a bike. More so, the class and respect that was displayed by each rider. Each rider put their own goals and ambitions on hold, and instead showed the greatest respect for one of their competitors. I don't know many sports that have this level of class. It was a moment that transcended sport and showed compassion, today all 206 riders weren't teammates or rivals, they were family. No moment of silence will ever compare to the 216km rolling tribute and the emotional end.

Follow this link to watch the emotional end. Fast forward to about 20 minutes in.

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