Tour de France chief expels driver from race

Added by on July 10, 2011

Tour de France organizers expelled the driver of a car that caused an accident with Juan Antonio Flecha of Spain and Johnny Hoogerland of the Netherlands on Sunday.

The car, belonging to France Television 2/3, was travelling at the front of the peloton 37km from the finish line. Organizers day that the driver of the car was not complying with directives issued before the accident. The car appeared to swerve to avoid a tree at the side of the narrow roadway. Hoogerland was bumped by the side of the car, and was sent tumbling several times before landing next to a fence at the side of the road. Flecha who was hit by Hoolerland as he fell, also fell to the ground while travelling at high speed.

Flecha got up and continued the race almost immediately, yet Hoogerland required several minutes to recover. They both finished the day by more than 16 minutes off the pace.

The car’s driver had previously received orders to let another car through to get a bottle of water to Thomas Voeckler.

At the end of the day Hoogerland said, “We can still be happy that we’re alive. Nobody can be blamed for this. It’s a horrible accident and I was in it. But I said to Flecha, We’re still alive and Wouter Weylandt died in a crash”. Hoogerland’s reference to Weylandt refers to a crash where Wouter Weylandt died of his injuries just weeks before the beginning of the Tour de France.