Lionel Bonaventure / AFP - Getty Images , Reuters
One of the breakaway men, Netherland's Johnny Hoogerland, is seen after he crashed and landed in a fence at the side of the road during the ninth stage of the 2011 Tour de France between Issoire and Saint-Flour, on July 10. Spain's Juan Antonio Flecha and Hoogerland survived being hit at speed by a car which bore the marking of France Televisions.
Laurent Rebours / AP
Injuries from barbed wire are seen on the legs of Johnny Hoogerland of The Netherlands as he crosses the finish line of the 9th stage of the Tour de France.
Cyclists anticipate all number of obstacles during this three-week showcase — wet roads, extreme heat, dehydration, exhaustion, crashes. Getting sent airborne by a Tour car is not one of them.
But that's what happened to the Flecha and to Johnny Hoogerland as they entered the final stretch of the 129-mile route from Issoire to Saint-Flour in the Massif Central. They were in a five-man front group that included Voeckler, Sanchez and France's Sandy Casar.
If Vinokourov's crash, which involved about 30 other riders midway through the stage, was not scary enough, the sight of an out-of-control car swerving right into Flecha was a perplexing sight — even in a race more than a century old.
The impact hit Flecha like a shovel, sending the Spaniard flying sideways into Hoogerland. Hoogerland then soared upward, just scraping a barbed wire fence. Had the Dutchman hit that face-first, the damage would have been gruesome.
Check out the full story here.