2min reading time   by Elke Weylandt on 27 June 2021
A quiet, sunny day on 9 May 2011. I decided not to listen to the Sporza sports channel while I was at work. I had to concentrate and I had also seen the profile of the stage from afar, there was a lot of climbing to do. A repeat of the third stage race in the 2010 Giro, when Wouter won in Middelburg, is hardly very likely, so I thought.

When the phone rang, around four o'clock - or was it later, or earlier? - and the screen told me it was my father, I answered not suspecting anything at all. 'Hello, dad!', I greeted him cheerfully, and even before I could continue, he interrupted me and I immediately heard that something was seriously wrong. 'Where are you?" he cried. Wouter has taken a fall, they are trying to resuscitate him,' he shouted. I was shouting as well, apparently, because suddenly my desk was surrounded by other colleagues. I tried to open sporza.be, it didn't work, I tried to turn on Radio 1, it didn't work. I was gripped by a blind panic. I had to go home. Straight away. Some colleagues offered to take me home. I said, 'No, because how am I going to get to work tomorrow if my car is still here?' Disbelief, panic, hope. I called my husband, I cried, I swallowed: 'Will you pick up the children?' I drove home, in silence. I dared not listen to the radio: Imagine that ... No, I mustn't think about it, things will be all right, they have to be all right. I was torn between hope and fear, between anguish and hope. I could already imagine how, in a few days, when Wouter had recovered, he would boast about what it was like to almost die and to see the white light and how we would laugh about that and be happy that his guardian angel had once again done a great job.

I drove to my parents' place and waited. I didn't dare to turn on the television. We started calling around frantically. Who has some news, who has something to tell us? Please tell us he is going to be okay! Anyone? No one.

Wouter Weylandt

Wouter Weylandt (27 September 1984 – 9 May 2011) was a Belgian professional cyclist for UCI ProTeam Quick-Step–Davitamon and later for Leopard Trek. His first major win was the 17th stage of the 2008 Vuelta a España. He also won the third stage of the 2010 Giro d'Italia. He died in a crash during the third stage of the 2011 Giro d'Italia.
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