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Tour de France

Johnny Hoogerland chasing polka dots again as Vacansoleil returns to Tour

Dutch hardman was struck by a car and thrown through a barbed-wire fence in 2011 Tour

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PARIS (AFP) — Dutch rider Johnny Hoogerland, who was struck by a TV car in last year’s Tour de France, will return to the race this year with his Vacansoleil team, the Dutch outfit confirmed on Thursday.

Hoogerland had 33 stitches inserted to close deep gashes in his leg during last year’s Tour after he was knocked through a barbed-wire fence on stage 9. Once again he hopes to target the polka-dot jersey awarded for the best climber.

France’s Romain Feillu, who wore the yellow jersey in 2008, will skip the Tour. So will Belgian Thomas de Gendt, third in the Giro d’Italia, because it clashes with his wedding plans.

Dutch national time-trial champion Lieuwe Westra, second in Paris-Nice last March, will compete.

It will be Vacansoleil’s second Tour.

Vacansoleil

Kris Boeckmans (BEL)
Johnny Hoogerland (NED)
Gustav Larsson (SWE)
Marco Marcato (ITA)
Wout Poels (NED)
Rob Ruijgh (NED)
Lieuwe Westra (NED)
Rafael Valls (ESP)
Kenny Van Hummel (NED)