One of the things that hooked me as a bicycle racing fan was the elegance with which the peleton responded during the 1995 Tour de France to the death of Fabio Casartelli. Casartelli hit a cement post along the side of the road on a wicked high-speed descent in the Pyrenees.
The next day the boys on the bikes, led by a young Casartelli teammate called Lance Armstrong, rode together in silence, choosing not to contest the day, allowing Casartelli’s teammates to the front at each of the bonus sprints so they could collect the prize money for Casartelli’s widow.
I was reminded of that today by this. It’s the boys from Cofidis crossing the finish line as one in today’s stage in Paris-Nice, a hot little stage race slowed by the death of Cofidis rider Andrei Kivilev, who crashed out yesterday. He died after a night in the hospital of a freakish head injury (the sort that would not have killed him, it is being said, had he been wearing a helmet). The riders did not race today, riding the stage together in quiet tribute to the popular Kazakh bike racer.