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MENDE, France (VN) — Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) is still nursing his way back to full health after a dog ran into the road and caused him to crash on the Alpe d’Huez stage of the Tour de France.
The Belgian crossed the finish line in 127th place on stage 14 in Mende, well behind the winner Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) and the GC group of overall contenders.
During the fall on stage 12, the stage 1 winner took a huge chunk of flesh off his right thigh and he has been suffering with back and leg issues ever since.
“The good legs have gone but I hope that they return fast because my back is still struggling and so are my legs,” a still positive Lampaert told VeloNews at the summit at Mende.
“Having some wounds is taking a long time to recover and this wasn’t the easiest stage on which to recover. I hope that I can get better fast but I have doubts.”
The Tour is in the middle of a mini-heatwave with temperatures set to soar throughout the rest of weekend and into next week as the race moves through the Massif Central and into the Pyrenees. Racing in such conditions is hard enough at the best of times but with all that missing skin and aching muscles, Lampaert’s recovery has been far from easy.
“The heat makes it worse. It’s a struggle already just to get to the finish line and then with the heat it’s not any easier. Right now I’m not thinking about the third week, and I’m just looking to the rest day. Tomorrow on stage 15 we have a small chance of a bunch sprint and I could do something but then next week, I’ll concentrate on the sprints too,” he said.
The crash on stage 12 wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last time a dog has caused a spill in the peloton – although the real blame lies at the foot of the dog’s owner. For Lampaert the incident was both frustrating and painful. He’ll be hoping for no more rough days ahead.
“I don’t remember a lot,” he said.
“I just saw the dog at the last moment and then the guy in front of me braked really hard. I didn’t expect that and then I came down. We’ve seen this happen before in the Tour and it’s not funny when it happens to you. I wasn’t a dog lover before and this certainly hasn’t helped.”