French climbing specialist John Gadret pointed skywards in memory of Wouter Weylandt, who died following a crash last week, as he crossed the finishing line to win stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday, according to sports.yahoo.com.
Gadret burst out of the chasing pack to surge to victory on the taxing uphill finish at Castelfidardo, ahead of Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez and Italian national champion Giovanni Visconti. Race leader Alberto Contador of Spain finished fifth.
“I’ve been thinking about Wouter all day, when I attacked I wanted to win for him and this victory is dedicated to him,” Gadret, France’s national cyclo-cross champion in 2004 and 2006, told reporters. I’m still slightly in shock because of Wouter’s crash, it’s something that you realise that can happen to you or any other rider in the peloton. Cycling is a big family and it was very important for me to be able to win and make that gesture for him.”
Before the start of stage 11, the Giro d’Italia held a minute’s silence in memory of Weylandt, whose funeral took place in Belgium on Wednesday morning.
“John’s gesture today was very important,” Contador told reporters. “We see the fans holding up Wouter’s race number, 108, on the roadsides as we race past and we all have him in our minds.”
The Giro d’Italia finishes on May 29th in Milan.