Tour de France

Car knocks down rider at TDF

2011-07-10 17:53
Juan Antonio Flecha (AFP)

Saint-Flour - Team Sky rider Juan Antonio Flecha was struck by a car late in Sunday's ninth stage of the Tour de France, sending the Spaniard flying into Dutch cyclist Johnny Hoogerland and bringing them both down.

Flecha had cuts to his legs and arms but got back on his bike. Hoogerland also remounted his bike for both to continue racing.

The Tour car was parallel to Flecha before seemingly misjudging how close it was to the Spaniard and turned into him, knocking him off his saddle to collide with Hoogerland, who flew into a ditch.

The 33-year-old Flecha's jersey was shredded on the back and blood dripped from his knee and elbow. Despite the heavy fall, he rode at a decent pace upon resuming racing.

By sheer luck, Hoogerland escaped a potentially horrific injury as he was sent flying narrowly over a barbed wire fence.

The pair had been in a front group of five when the incident happened but both were soon caught by the chasing pack, Hoogerland appearing to be in some difficulty as he pedaled.

Earlier on Sunday, a mass crash forced Kazakh rider Alexandre Vinokourov out of the race with a suspected broken leg. Defending champion Alberto Contador also crashed, but the Spaniard was unharmed and got back on his bike.

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