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Flecha hopes to continue Tour despite crash

Flecha hopes to continue Tour despite crash

Team Sky rider Juan Antonio Flecha hopes to be at the starting line of the Tour de France's next stage, despite suffering numerous wounds after he and fellow racer Johnny Hoogerland were sideswiped by a reckless driver.
Flecha was hit by a Tour car trying to pass him on a narrow road, knocking him into Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland and sending both flying off their bikes toward the end of Sunday's ninth stage.
Both riders were part of a small breakaway group contending for the stage victory.
Flecha said at a team news conference Monday _ the Tour's first rest day _ that his first reaction was "to look for my bike and get going again."
But then "I saw the fork was broken, I was bleeding everywhere, I saw Johnny laying there, and I said 'Wow,'" he said.
The Argentina-born Spanish rider, known as one of professional cycling's "hardmen" for having finished on the podium several times in the notorious Paris-Roubaix cobblestoned classic, did manage to finish the race on a spare bike, crossing the line with a group of riders 16 minutes, 38 seconds after the stage winner, Luis Leon Sanchez.
"I grabbed a spare bike and got going, then I saw my elbow swelling up, my knees bleeding, and I realized my chance for the stage win was over," Flecha said.
Flecha's rest day began with a trip to the hospital for X-rays, which showed no broken bones. He arrived at the news conference with both elbows and both knees wrapped in thick gauze bandages.
"You look more like a mummy than a Spaniard right now," Team Sky's Welsh manager Dave Brailsford quipped.
Flecha said he was especially concerned about his elbow "because it was pretty swollen and painful," and that his swollen knee "has a hole so big and deep they couldn't really stitch it."
"They cut around it and put in one stitch just so I would be able to cycle," Flecha said.
Earlier in the race Team Sky's leader, British champion Bradley Wiggins, crashed out with a broken collarbone. That crash had the effect of bringing the team together, Flecha said.
"I want to keep being part of that," he said.
Flecha's crash was in some ways worse for the team, Brailsford said.
"Rather than people saying 'bloody hell, we pulled it together,' it kind of hurt more in a different kind of way than Bradley's crash, because that was a racing crash, and this was an unnecessary needless crash," Brailsford said.
The driver of the car was banned from the rest of the race, but Flecha said he has not called to apologize.
"I haven't heard anything from the driver, I don't even know his name," Flecha said.
After finishing the news conference, there was only one thing Flecha had on his agenda for the much-needed rest day.
"Siesta," he said.
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Updated : 2020-11-30 10:28 GMT+08:00