Hoogerland got knocked sideways by a passing French television car, and sent Mach 10 into a barbed wire fence upside-down and rolling over the front of his bike. The video has already been posted here on DC. This is a clearer version off Youtube.
To say it was ugly would be a vast understatement. It was damn lucky no one was killed.
Image source: http://sports.yahoo.com/sc/gallery/im:urn:newsml:sports….
The crash was with such force and velocity that he took out a fence post. The wires tore into his flesh, and damn near tore his pants completely off as well. Dude had every right to pack it in right there and get properly stitched up. No one would have thought any less of him for doing so.
Not our boy. No, he gets up. And he rides it in. He finishes. And, for his efforts, he takes the polka dot jersey and is awarded the most combative rider award with Juan Antonio Flecha. I believe this is the first time the award has ever been presented to two men at once.
Yes, real men cry. Good on ya. You are one tough son of a bitch.
Today, Johnny Hoogerland is a hero.
(Note: In no way to I mean to minimize the toughness of Flecha with this post. He got drilled to the deck and rode it in as well. I think he would have done well on the stage, and it’s a shame to see it end that way. I’m a big Flecha fan for his spring exploits these past few years. I just had to give Hoogerland a lot of credit for what he went through today.)
Update: I really like this photo and felt it needed to be included in this post. Not the subject matter, but the way in which it conveys the emotion of the moment. Damn powerful stuff. I never knew much about the man they call the The Bull from Beveland before today. I am impressed by his character.
As for the driver of that car:
Tour organizers later called the driver’s actions “intolerable” and banned the car and its driver from the rest of the race.
Update two: Video of the jersey presentation. Everyone wants to shake Hoogerland’s hand. And listen to the applause. Everyone there knows what was witnessed today.by