Xavier Tondo remembered on his 33rd birthday, tributes paid
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Xavier Tondo remembered on his 33rd birthday, tributes paid

by Shane Stokes at 8:14 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Local sports hall named after Movistar rider

Xavier TondoThe charismatic Spaniard Xavi Tondo was remembered yesterday on a day when he would have turned 33 years of age, with the late rider being celebrated in his hometown of Valls in Tarragona.

The Pabellón Municipal de Fornàs sport arena was renamed after him, thus preserving a lasting link between his name and sports in the area. Fittingly, the ceremony was preceded by three sessions of spinning. All those who enter the arena will see a plaque on the wall bearing his name, reinforcing the link between the rider, the sporting hall and the area.

The saxophonist Pep Poblet performed with the group Cobla Cossetània, playing a composition by Xavier Forcada called “Xavi, esforç i somriure.” This was accompanied by a Sardana, a type of dance.

Representatives of his Movistar team were in attendance, including the general manager Eusebio Unzué, the riders Imanol Erviti and Andrey Amador plus staff members José Luis Laguía and Juan Pablo Molinero.

The team said that the ceremony remembered “a rider whose smile will be recorded forever in the heart of the blue team.”

Although he won the Tour of Portugal in 2007, he had to wait until 2010 when he got his big breakthrough. Signed by the Cervélo Test Team, Tondo won a stage in both Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya, finishing second overall in the latter, and was also sixth in the Vuelta a España.

He then transferred across to the Movistar team and looked set to lead it in what would have been his debut Tour de France. The year started on a successful note with victories on a stage of the Tour de San Luis and the overall classification in the Vuelta a Castilla y León, as well as fifth in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and sixth in the Volta a Catalunya.

He also earned praise for helping police smash a doping ring, passing on information after he was offered banned products.

Sadly, Tondo passed away in a freak accident on May 23rd. He was preparing to go training with teammate Benat Intxausti, driving to a meeting point, but was trapped between the car and the garage door when the vehicle unexpectedly rolled backward.

The news came as a huge shock to many, particularly as the accident happened two weeks after the passing of Wouter Weylandt in the Giro d’Italia.

He had many friends in cycling due to his humble, open and cheerful nature, and was passionate about the sport. Five months after his passing, yesterday’s commemoration was a welcome gesture which remembered a special person in the peloton.

Read more about Xavier Tondo here, including details of his unique perspective on the sport:


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