UCI probes bike safety with teams after cyclist death

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Giro d'Italia riders observe silence for Wouter Weylandt

UCI president Pat McQuaid says cycling's governing body will investigate bike safety after the death of Belgian rider Wouter Weylandt.

The 26-year-old died after suffering a head injury during a crash on Monday's third stage of the Giro d'Italia.

Rabobank's Pieter Weening won stage five of the race on Wednesday to move into the overall lead.

Overnight leader David Millar of Britain finished two minutes and 50 seconds down to fall back to 49th.

The Garmin-Cervelo rider endured a tough day after he fell while competing for one of the intermediary sprints and despite getting back up to the peloton he was left behind on one of the gravel sections of the stage late on.

"It was a silly fall," said Millar. "I was suffering with my allergies today and for some reason nothing seemed to work."

Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador was seventh to sit ninth overall, 30 seconds behind Weening.

Weening finished eight seconds ahead of Fabio Duarte, who led home a sprint for second place with Jose Perez third.

Weening's team-mate, Tom-Jelle Slagter, fell off his bike about 13km (8 miles) from the end of the stage when he tried to take a water bottle from a team masseur but despite a hefty fall the Dutch rider immediately received attention and stayed conscious before being taken to hospital.

Tuesday's fourth stage had been taken place without points being awarded as a mark of respect to Weylandt and his team.

But as competitive racing began again, McQuaid told the BBC that the UCI would "investigate and discuss with the industry... the rigidity and safety aspects of bikes."

But he conceded when "racing against nature all of the time" there was very little that could be improved.

"We will make sure we are not making bikes which cause problems themselves.

"But they [the teams] understand there is a limit to what you can do to a bike."

Leopard-Trek rider Weylandt fell at high speed during a descent about 25km (15.5 miles) from the finish of the stage from Reggio Emilia to Rapallo.

He was the first rider killed in a crash in one of cycling's three main tours since Italian rider Fabio Casartelli in the 1995 Tour de France.

Weylandt is the fourth cyclist to die during the Giro and the first in 25 years. Orfeo Ponsin died in 1952, Juan Manuel Santisteban in 1976 and Emilio Ravasio in 1986.

McQuaid said: "Cycling is touched by a lot of controversy but one tends to forget that they go out everyday and risk their lives, going down the mountains at the speeds they go down.

"We see a lot of crashes in cycling and a lot of injuries but very rarely do we see a fatality and here we did. It's such a sad situation for a 26-year-old, so so tragic."

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