Tour team carries on after tragedy
Patrick D. Walters
PWALTERS at delphi.com
Thu Jul 20 18:50:44 PDT 1995
4 19-JUL-1995 07:14 Tour team carries on after tragedy
TARBES, France, July 19 -- U.S. team Motorola will race on in the Tour de
France cycle race Wednesday despite the tragic death of team-member Fabio
Casartelli of Italy during the 15th stage Tuesday.
The 24-year-old died after fracturing his skull in a fall on a mountain
bend in the Pyrenees, the third rider to die during the race in the Tour's
92-year history and the first since Britain's Tommy Simpson in 1967.
Motorola spokesman Paul Sherwen said the team's riders had met manager Jim
Ochowicz and had decided they would stay in the race.
"They felt they wanted to carry on in his memory," said Sherwen. "It was
the riders' own decision."
Sherwen said Casartelli's body would be flown back to Italy Wednesday and
arrangements were being made for a funeral on Thursday.
Race director Jean-Marie Leblanc said a minute's silence would be observed
in Casartelli's memory at the start of today's 16th stage in Tarbes.
The tragedy inevitably raised questions about the safety of riders. Like
most of the 129 competitors who started the 15th stage, Casartelli was not
wearing his racing helmet because of the intense heat.
But Tour doctor Gerard Porte said the helmet would probably not have saved
the Italian's life.
"He didn't have a helmet but the impact was mostly on the face and a helmet
wouldn't have helped much."
The issue of wearing helmets has long been controversial and was at one
time compulsory in the Tour. Widespread disobedience by riders forced the rule
to be dropped, although the wearing of helmets is mandatory in some countries,
including England, Holland and Belgium.
Race organisers, meanwhile, came under fire for the way they handled the
aftermath. Swiss ace Tony Rominger criticised them for not telling the riders
until after the stage had finished.
"I only knew when I got into the team bus and saw it on television," he
said. "I was worried about safety on this year's Giro d'Italia though here I
think they are doing all they can. But people are riding much faster these
Team manager Ochowicz said that riders in the Tour plan to donate prize
money to the family of Casartelli, who is survived by a wife and four-month-
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