Tragedy has struck the Italian cycling community. Thomas Casarotto has died as a result of injuries suffered in an accident in the Giro del Friuli Venezia Giulia stage race last Friday. He and another rider had fallen behind and were trying to catch up with the main pack on a descent. As Thomas rounded around a curve, cutting to the inside, he found an SUV in his path. The driver and his wife said they had no idea there was a race going on. They said they’d entered the road from a small lateral street and started up the climb. They saw a car coming fast, thought it was an ambulance, and pulled over. (The rider behind Thomas is sure the SUV was in motion when the crash happened.) Thomas was descending at high speed and could not avoid the vehicle. He crashed hard and suffered traumatic head injuries. Today doctors declared him brain dead and turned off the life support machines that had kept him alive since last week. His parents have decided to donate his organs.*
Thomas, who would have turned 20 in December, was from Schio, in Vicenza province, and raced for the UC Arcobaleno Generali team.
* Here’s an inspiring but heart wrenching video about Thomas and a little boy who was “reborn” thanks to Thomas’ gift.