RODEZ, France (VN) — Jean-Christophe Péraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) left the peloton in awe Friday when he crashed hard, got back on his bike, and rode all the way to the line covered in blood, bandages, and bruises.
Nothing was going to stop the 38-year-old French veteran. After race doctors attended to his horrific abrasions, Péraud even brought water bottles up to his teammates.
And on Saturday, a battered but not beaten Péraud toed up to the start line.
“Between the heat and the wounds, I expect a tough day,” Péraud told AFP on Saturday. “I didn’t sleep well last night, and I woke up a few times from the pain. I hope to have better days ahead.”
At about 135km into Friday’s hot broiler of a stage, Péraud crashed heavily on rough tarmac as the peloton clipped along at a high pace. Though he quickly remounted, the cuts and abrasions looked horrific. Blood poured off his left arm and hip, made even worse by the heat and sweat.
“Jean-Christophe is a tough guy,” said Ag2r-La Mondiale manager Vincent Lavenu. “He proved it last year with second in the Tour, and he proved it again [Friday]. He deserves the accolades, he’s an example.”
Péraud suffered gashes, cuts, and scrapes to his left side, but X-rays overnight revealed no broken bones. AFP reported it took team staffers 45 minutes to dress his wounds before Saturday’s stage.
This Tour hasn’t gone the way he wanted. A winner at the Critérium International in March, Péraud’s podium hopes faded in the Pyrénées, when he lost nearly 22 minutes on the stage to Cauterets.
Despite the GC disappointment, his courage Friday reconfirmed his reputation as one tough customer.