Tour de France
Flecha: Driver didn't say sorry
Juan Antonio Flecha (File)
Madrid - Team Sky's Spanish rider Juan Antonio Flecha, who was hit by an overtaking TV car during the ninth stage of the Tour de France, has expressed his regret that the driver did not apologise for causing the accident.VIDEO: Juan Antonio Flecha hit by a car
"He hasn't come to say sorry and I think that if he were to come, I wouldn't even talk with him," Flecha said in comments published by Spanish newspaper El Pais. "France TV also did not say sorry to me."
Flecha and Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland had been part of a five-man breakaway that was vying for victory in the 208 kilometre ninth stage from Issoire to Saint-Flour in the Massif Central.
The pair were hit by the France TV car 35km from the finishing line. Vacansoleil rider Hoogerland was sent somersaulting into a barbed wire fence while Flecha hit the deck at full speed.
Both riders finished the race, with Hoogerland stepping on to the podium, in tears, to receive the best climber's polka dot jersey. He later had 33 stitches inserted to close deep gashes in his leg.
The car was seen trying to overtake the five-man breakaway, but veered right prematurely, into the riders, to try and avoid hitting a tree.
The car was thrown off the race by Tour director Christian Prudhomme who said the car had failed to heed directives on the race's official radio channel.
The television company involved did actually apologise for the incident.
"France Television apologises to the riders, the teams and to the ASO (Amaury Sports Organisation) for the accident during the ninth stage of the Tour de France which was caused by a technical assistance vehicle covering the race," said a statement.
"France Television will respect fully the measures which will be taken by the ASO to improve safety."