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Monday, July 11, 2011

Look out, he's a cycle-path: Driver rams rider into barbed wire during Tour de France


Caught up: Johnny Hoogerland, right, is tangled in barbed-wire after he crashed at the side of the road with Spain's Juan Antonio Flecha, left

Their hopes of cycling victory were left in tatters - just like their ripped jerseys.

Two Tour de France riders were knocked off their bikes yesterday with one sent hurtling into a barbed wire fence.

Spanish rider Juan Antonio Flecha and Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland were racing through the French countryside when the TV car came alongside them.

Painful: Deep lacerations on Hoogerland's leg and buttock from the barbed wire fence. His cycling costume was shredded but thankfully he was able to change into a new one

The vehicle, belonging to TV station France 2, veered suddenly to its right as it passed a group of five cyclists along a narrow country road just 22 miles from the finish of a stage.

As it did so, Team Sky rider Flecha was sent tumbling to the ground, colliding with Hoogerland and catapulting him into the wire, causing ugly lacerations to his skin.

Both men eventually remounted their bikes and continued riding - with shredded jerseys and blood pouring from their cuts.

Cuts: Johnny Hoogerland grits his teeth in agony after getting tangled in the barbed wire

Wounded: Hoogerland is helped from the fence, and right, Jurgen Van Den Broeck of Belgium receives treatment for an injured collarbone after he crashed in the 9th stage of the race

It emerged that the car driver had been ordered by race control not to pass the riders. The driver and the vehicle have been thrown off the race.

That part of the race had already been littered with broken bones.

A tricky descent on a mountain road made slippery by the rain in the Massif Central caused the earlier carnage with Alexandre Vinokourov from Kazakhstan breaking his right femur after being thrown over a barrier into a tree.

Back in the saddle: Flecha made a recovery to rejoin the race but suffered cuts to his legs

In the same incident, one of the pre-race favourites, Jurgen van den Broeck, fractured ribs and his shoulder blade, while Omega-Lotto team-mate and fellow Belgian Frederik Willems suffered a broken collar bone and David Zabriskie a suspected broken wrist.

Saxobank rider Stuart O'Grady, whose team-mate Nicki Sorensen was clipped by a photographer's motorbike and crashed into a ditch in Brittany on Stage 5, fiercely criticised the Tour organisers.

He said: 'Crashes are always going be part of the game. It just seems that this year we are going down goat tracks.

Casualties: Frederik Willems of Belgium, left, and David Zabriskie of the U.S., right, are treated by doctors after crashing out of the race on a mountain road in the Massif Central

Seeing the sights: The leaders ride past the castle of Alleuze in their breakaway on stage nine

Where's Wally? The tightly-bunched pack climbs on the way to Saint Flour

'It's one thing to say it's all for the spectacle, but we don't want to see more people lose their life.'

While Luis Leon Sanchez won the stage and Thomas Voeckler took over the yellow jersey, seven riders abandoned the race with injuries.

The competition quickly appears to becoming the Tour of attrition.

Tour de France 2011 Crash - Flecha & Hoogerland hit by a car

source: dailymail


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