Tour de France 2020

Team Sky ponders legal action over Flecha car crash

AURILLAC, France (AFP) - Team Sky are pondering whether to take legal action against the television car which sent their Spaniard rider Juan Antonio Flecha flying during the race's ninth stage Sunday.

2011 Tour de France stage 10
Patched up Flecha on stage 10 Tuesday. Photo: Graham Watson

AURILLAC, France (AFP) – Team Sky is pondering whether to take legal action against the television car that sent their Spaniard rider Juan Antonio Flecha flying during the race’s ninth stage Sunday.

Flecha and Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland survived being hit by a France Television car as it overtook their five-man breakaway group 35 km from the finish line.

The car was later excluded from the race by furious organizers and France Television later issued an official apology.

Team principal Dave Brailsford said the crash “shouldn’t have happened,” adding the team was going over all their options.

“There are different options available, but (we’ll wait) until we’ve got the facts and got the lawyers to say ‘you could do this’, ‘Team Sky could do that’, ‘Juan as an individual might want to do that.’

“We need to have a clear picture of what those options are before we then decide which one we may or may not wish to pursue.”

Asked whether that meant pursuing legal proceedings, Brailsford added: “All the options is all the options.”

Team Sky lost yellow jersey contender Bradley Wiggins to a broken collarbone during the crash-marred first week.

Flecha, who along with Hoogerland started Tuesday’s 10th stage, is now afraid he won’t go much further. Three consecutive stages in the Pyrenees start on Thursday.

“I’m more concerned about the Pyrenees. I can’t bypass the Pyrenees,” said the Spaniard, who suffered mainly cuts and grazes.

Hoogerland had 33 stitches put into deep gashes he suffered after landing in a barbed wire fence.

But with the memory of Belgian Wouter Weylandt’s death from a crash in May’s Giro d’Italia still fresh in the minds of many, Hoogerland — who races with the modest Vacansoleil team — refused to blame anyone for the incident.

“Nobody can be blamed for this. It’s a horrible accident and I was in it.

But I said to Flecha, ‘We’re still alive and Wouter Weylandt died in a crash’,” he said.

Vacansoleil team manager Daan Luyckx said they would only look into the possibility of taking legal action “once the race is over”.

France television personally apologized to Hoogerland however it was reported Monday that Flecha has not had such an apology.