RAPALLO, Italy — Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt died Monday after a high-speed downhill crash at the Giro d'Italia, the first rider to be killed in a major cycling race in 16 years.
Maria Paola Vercesi, a spokeswoman for race organizer RCS Sport, confirmed the death of the 26-year-old Weylandt to The Associated Press, but did not provide any further details.
"Things like this shouldn't happen. Absolutely sick to the stomach," British cyclist Mark Cavendish said on Twitter. "My thoughts are with his family. RIP Wouter Weylandt."
Weylandt fell at high speed during a descent 12.4 miles from the finish in northern Italy and lay motionless on the roadside before paramedics removed his helmet and tried to resuscitate him.
The Leopard-Trek rider's body was then taken by ambulance about an hour after the accident.
Weylandt was the first rider killed in a crash in one of cycling's three main tours since Italian rider Fabio Casartelli died during the 1995 Tour de France.
At the Giro, Weylandt is the fourth cyclist to die during the race and the first in 25 years. Orfeo Ponsin died in 1952, Juan Manuel Santisteban in 1976 and Emilio Ravasio in 1986.
Monday's third stage, 107-mile ride from Reggio Emilia to Rapallo, was won by Angel Vicioso of Spain.
Scroll down to watch a report about the death: