May 9, 2011, its a day that caused a shockwave in the Belgian cycling world. Wouter Weylandt crashed in the third stage of the Giro dItalia and died. The number he wore at that time, 108, hasnt been pinned since then in the Tour of Italy, but in the other big tours it has been.
Edward Theuns is the first Belgian since Weylandts death to carry his compatriots number in a big lap. In the 107th edition of the Tour de France he drives around with number 108. “I just thought: oy. And I was a little scared that it would bring bad luck.”
“That mindset returned quickly,” says Theuns. “It just gave me more motivation to do the best I could with that song.”
To minimize the chance of an accident, Theuns is carrying something special. “In the Tour of Poland the team leader gave me a photo of the Pope. I put it in my backpack during the race.”
“In the first race Fabio Jakobsen fell pretty hard and I could only just avoid that fall. Since then that picture is in my backpack and I havent fallen yet.”
Sempre con noi
Theuns didnt know Weylandt personally, but he did come from the same city: Ghent. The rider of Trek-Segafredo got a personal message on Instagram after it became known that he would ride with number 108 in the Tour de France. “Wouters father sent: 108, sempre con noi (always with us, ed.)”