Two riders in the ninth stage of the Tour de France suffered spectacular crashes after a collision with a car belonging to French public television. One of the riders, Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland, slammed into a barbed-wire fence.

 

"/> Two riders in the ninth stage of the Tour de France suffered spectacular crashes after a collision with a car belonging to French public television. One of the riders, Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland, slammed into a barbed-wire fence.

 

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ACCIDENT

TV car upends Tour de France cyclists

Two riders in the ninth stage of the Tour de France suffered spectacular crashes after a collision with a car belonging to French public television. One of the riders, Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland, slammed into a barbed-wire fence.

 

TV car upends Tour de France cyclists
YouTube screenshot

The two riders, Hoogerland with the Vacansoleil-DCM team and Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha with Sky, were in the lead some 37 kilometers from the finish line in Saint-Flour when a car clipped Flecha, sending him sprawling.

Hoogerland then collided with Flecha and went flying through the air into a neighbouring field where he landed on a barbed-wire fence. He suffered lacerations to his leg and was “covered with blood,” according to his team’s directors.

Flecha was able to get back on his bike and rejoin the race. Hoogerland had his legs and knees bandaged before setting off again.

The accident deprived Hoogerland of a possible victory. He ended up finishing the day in 139th place, but was awarded the polka-dot jersey as the best climber of the stage.

“I’m not angry, as I don’t think it was anyone’s fault. I’m still alive,” he told journalists.

France Télévisions issued an apology for the incident.

The Tour de France administration said that the car in question was not following the proper guidelines when the accident occurred.

The crash was the second such incident in recent days. On Wednesday, a photographer’s motorcycle caused a rider with the Saxo Bank team, Nicki Sorenson from Denmark, to take a tumble.

“It’s a scandal,” said Christian Prudhomme, the Tour de France director. “Two accidents linked to the media in just a few days during the Tour de France are two accidents too many.”

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SPORT

French government: All athletes must be vaccinated to compete in France

All athletes and sports professionals who wish to compete in France will have to be vaccinated against Covid-19, government sources told AFP on Monday.

Unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic
Unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic. Photo: Oscar del Polzo/AFP

The French parliament has just given the go-ahead for the health pass to be converted into a vaccine pass, which means that anyone wishing to enter leisure and cultural venues – including sports grounds and stadiums – will have to be vaccinated.

This goes for the crowd, but also professional sports players and staff. The government has indicated that exemptions will not be made athletes who are based outside France.

The ministry said a new vaccine pass, “applies to everyone, to volunteers and to elite sportspeople, including those coming from abroad, until further notice.”

READ ALSO What changes when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass

Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu said last week that certain events like the French Open could have a special exemption, when asked whether Novak Djokovic could play in the tournament, but this appears now to not be the case.

Questions had been asked about whether the unvaccinated Djokivic – recently deported from Australia – would be able to play in the French Open in May, but the ruling would affect all visiting sports professionals, including rugby teams from England, Ireland and Italy who are due to play in France during the Six Nations tournament in February and March.

Until now a health pass has been sufficient to enter sports grounds, which means unvaccinated players and fans were able to use a negative Covid test.

However once the vaccine pass enters into effect – scheduled to be later this week – only proof of vaccination will be affected.

French domestic sports teams were given the choice of either making sure that all their players and staff were fully vaccinated or playing behind closed doors.

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