Editor’s note: VeloNews.com is presenting selections from the January 2012 edition of Velo, the magazine’s 24th annual awards issue. It’s only a sampler — so if you want the full scoop, pick up a copy of the January 2012 edition of Velo.
Johnny Hoogerland found himself in the center of the media spotlight this summer for his courageous comeback from a horrific crash involving a French television car in stage 6.
The 28-year-old Dutch rider and Juan Antonio Flecha were knocked off their bikes, barely escaping life-threatening injuries, with Hoogerland flying into a barbed-wire fence.
After untangling himself, the rider known as “The Bull of Beveland” bravely fought to the line to claim the best climber’s jersey, standing on the podium with blood dripping down his legs and tears dripping down his cheeks.
The next day, Hoogerland showed up at the start line sporting 33 stitches and so much bandaging he looked like The Mummy. He made it all the way to Paris, finishing 74th.
Coming on Sunday: Rookie of the Year.