Did you see the highlights yesterday?? Did you see Fletcher get hit by the photographers car!? UNBELIEVABLE….. how is that possible?
He wasn’t even that close to the tree, and surely, given the choice, you brake? Worst case, you hit the tree, but you never, under any circumstances, ever go for the soft target….
The commentators were equally as astounded, and one commented that a lot of the drivers on the course are actually ex racers themselves, and should know better.
Johnny Hoogerland landed on a barbed wire fence as a result of the incident, at aroung 60 to 65 km/h, and had to have serveral stitches in his back for deep lacerations.
I can’t believe the pair of them got back on their bikes and finished the stage, it makes you realise what kind of a man competes in the tour. If i got hit by a car like that riding to work, and it’s happened, the last thing going through your mind is getting back on your bike…. although i have in the past, but not having landed on a barbed wire fence.
I suppose it must have been some small consolation that he was awarded the King of the Mountains jersey at the end of the stage. The freak accident took away Hoogerland’s chances of a stage win and in a race like the Tour it’s unlikely the Dutchman will be able to recover and defend the maillot à pois rouges like he normally would.
Following the podium ceremony and prior to being transported to the hospital for further medical care, the Dutchman spoke with the media. “I’ve got a few awful cuts but I think that will get better soon,” Hoogerland said. “It’s very emotional. You’re up the road in the Tour de France, you take the climber’s jersey and I wanted to go for the stage win but then you get eliminated in such a stupid way. A lot goes through your mind when that happens.
“We had five and a half minutes and we knew we would make it to the finish. The best was gone because I fought for the mountain points. We were riding at the right side of the road and then that car moves up. He has to swerve and takes Flecha down and then I was thrown into the barbed wire at 60 or 65 km/h. I went head over heels into the barbed wire and I was stuck in there. I looked at my legs and the first thing I thought was riding on. Then Michel [Cornelisse] came and I received new shorts. I thought I had only one cut but in the bus I saw I had two more deep cuts.”
Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) claimed victory at the end of the days stage, in a hard game of cat and mouse approaching the finish, forcing his two breakway companions Voeckler and Sandy Casar to lead close to the finsh, before attacking hard to the line.
I love the mountain stages!