Leopard Trek has withdrawn from the Giro d’Italia following the death of their team mate Wouter Weylandt’s
The Belgian was killed after crashing towards the end of stage three; initially Leopard Trek insisted they would finish the race however they have now confirmed their withdrawal.
In a statement released tonight the team said: ‘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 teammate and friend Wouter Weylandt.
‘This choice of the riders has the full support of the staff and management of Leopard Trek.’
General manager Brian Nygaard backed the riders on their withdrawal: ‘The decision needed to be taken by the 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 added. ‘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.