The moto driver that caused Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) to crash near the top of the Col du Glandon on stage 18 has been ejected from the Tour de France. The driver was attempting to pass the breakaway group, which had begun to split on the upper slopes of the climb, when the incident occurred. He narrowly avoided taking out Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) as well.
“If – if – if – if a motorcycle hadn’t hit me, I wouldn’t be bleeding, and I wouldn’t have a fine from the commissare,” Fuglsang said after the stage, clearly angry and disappointed.
Fuglsang had made the day’s breakaway and was hoping to challenge for the king of the mountains jersey — the Col du Glandon was rated hors category. Fuglsang, along with eventual stage winner Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar) had begun to separate themselves from the rest of the breakaway on the upper slopes of the Glandon.
Fuglsang had moved off the front of the lead group and was looking to his left to see who would next take up the pace-making. The moto moved up on his right-hand side and was unable to avoid Fuglsang as he swung off, due to the narrow road.
Fuglsang got up, clearly shocked by the incident and immediately received assistance from his team car. The team car helped him back into the group with a “sticky bottle.” Astana director sportif Dmitriy Fofonov and Fuglsang were each fined 50 swiss francs for the infraction.
Fuglsang received abrasions to his right elbow and hip that, according to Astana, bled for the remainder of the stage.
In recent years, there have been multiple incidents involving vehicles in the caravan attempting to pass riders and causing them to crash. Most notably in 2011, a car attempted to pass the breakaway and sent riders crashing to the pavement. Johnny Hoogerland (Roompot) was in the break at the time and was sent flying into a barbed-wire fence.
Also, just this year, the driver of a Shimano neutral service car collided with Jesse Sergent at Ronde van Vlaanderen. Again, the incident occurred in the breakaway. In both cases, the driver was ejected from the race.
Fuglsang was upset after the crash, feeling robbed of a chance at the stage win. This incident showed, yet again, the dangers of the Tour caravan and how remarkable it is that this does not occur more often.