The riders, team leaders, and race organizers created a beautiful tribute to Wouter Weylandt on Stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia.
In this atmospheric watercolor I painted, depicting the last few miles of Stage 4, the line of Weylandt's eight Leopard-Trek teammates lead the peloton to the stage finish, joined by Tyler Farrar -- a good friend of Weylandt's on the Garmin-Cervelo Team, whom the Leopard-Trek riders thoughtfully invited to ride with them.
Not only did the riders choose to neutralize Stage 4 in honor of Wouter Weylandt (which means they just rode together as a pack without racing), but they organized themselves with a very touching choreography. Each of the teams spent a few minutes at the front of the peloton, ending with Weylandt's team, Leopard-Trek.
The smooth progression through the beautiful Italian Riviera, the poignant hand-written signs and applause from the Italian cycling fans lining the side of the road, and even the sensitive commentary by the Universal Sports announcers all made for a very moving tribute, full of camaraderie. Only in cycling could this occur.
It was a very sad day, but so full of heart.