July 02, 2006
Hushovd will continue in race
Thor Hushovd suffered an ugly gash on his upper right arm near the finish line of today's stage. He came to a stop just after the finish, and sat down against the barricades, where he proceeded to bleed all over his leg and jersey (and that should bring in some of those American fans!) as an onlooker pressed on his arm to stop the flow of blood.
Apparently, Hushovd was cut by a promotional hand brandished by a spectator as he went full-bore to the line.
After a brief hospital visit, and four stitches, Hushovd is expected back on the start line tomorrow morning.
World champ Tom Boonen said his deceleration late in the sprint wasn't because he was beaten, but because he was hit by a fan's camera, as he followed Hushovd's lead, sprinting a hair's-breadth off the right-hand barricades.
Tour organizers will prohibit PMU, sponsors of the green jersey contest, from distributing the hands in the last 2 kilometers of sprint stages, which is pretty much their only point.
Sammarye shares her opinion on “those damn hands.”
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I would certainly love to see better crowd control on the Tour. I don't know how many Tour's I've seen where I am left cringing, wondering, why more barricades (double depth at the end perhaps) are not employed to protect the cyclists. The mountain stages where crazed fans run in front of and touch the cyclists is ridiculous.
BTW, I'm an American and I take great exception to the suggestion that American's would like to see the kind of injuries that occurred today. Comments like that simply demonstrate a level of ignorance about American audiences.
Posted by: L Broadmoor at Jul 2, 2006 8:24:28 PM
I'm part of the American audience, and I believe that NASCAR's tremendous popularity is largely a result of the accidents.
The last 10 k today was incredible TV, with or without the accident, as was the prologue.
Nevertheless, we're faced with the parade of clueless sportswriters who "don't want to get up early to watch bicycling" now that Lance Armstrong is retired, which suggests I may be more right about US audiences than I would like to be.
Posted by: Frank at Jul 2, 2006 8:34:54 PM
I'm an American viewer of bicycle racing, and I am outraged that anyone would suggest that American fans of bicycle racing would be exicted by crashes. There is absolutely no reason to think this is the case. I watched with horror, not fascination or excitment, when Beloki (was it?) crashed just ahead of Armstrong.
Posted by: Jim Bob at Jul 2, 2006 9:25:03 PM
As an american fan I am really not impressed with how they control the crowds over there. There was no call for what happened to Thor and Tom at the end of that race. There should be at least a four to five gap between the race barrier and the crowds to keep them away from the racers in a situation such as that. Lance will be missed but we stil have some good American contenders in this tour. I am pulling for George as well as Floyd to do well. They have what it takes to win this tour, they were trained by the best!!
Posted by: Keith at Jul 2, 2006 10:02:32 PM
For those who are NEARLY the BEST ... they can be the BEST. For this to happen, all you have to do is to dope your body ... and risk not getting caught. You know the guy that is beating you; is already doing it. If you don't, you WON'T WIN. The guys caught in this years' tour are great athletes just trying to even the competition. Let's be realistic, I highly doubt there's a top athelete in the world not doping. The money is too good!
Posted by: CD at Jul 2, 2006 10:17:32 PM
I also take exception to that.
Why is it that in America, our fans do not riot, kill each other and destroy stadiums and require the use of paramilitary police for crowd control, yet we are the ones that are considered blood thirsty.
Wonder why the names of football players on the Operacion Puerto list have not been released, and those names banned from football or the World Cup? Because euorpean fans would riot and there would be bloodshed, and the authorities know this.
Our sports may occasionally have injuries, and auto racing has crashes. But the fans do not, as a rule riot.
To L. Broadmoore: Auto racing is a world sport. Look up Grand Prix and Ralley Racing for a start. Almost exclisivly european, with some S. American races as well. They have crashes as well yet you did not call those fans bloodthirsty or attracted to the crashes.
The majority of auto races of all types are run without incident, yet the fans go there as well. So stop the snide anti-american jibes.
If you are a US 'citizen' you are no doubt a self-hating leftist democrat. pig.
Posted by: tomwright at Jul 2, 2006 10:45:02 PM
Tom, L is actually agreeing with you.
I'm not ("Frank", above). I think the typical American attitude toward bike racing is dismissive and I've watched the sport since the late 80s. Until the advent of a 500-channel universe, we used to get a 30-minute nightly recap on ESPN, where the first 15 minutes was a repeat of the last few stages of highlights, and we got about 10 minutes of actual racing.
That is, in my opinion, because Americans prefer more confrontational sports. There's a reason Evel Knievel was American. There's a reason soccer doesn't sell outside of the playground. There's a reason we worship the home run and the slam dunk. And there's a reason we saw Dale Earnhardt's fatal crash 500 times that week.
The names of footballers and others from the Puerto report will come out, and they'll go through a similar process as the cyclists have: The reason the cyclists' names have been released is to try to avoid the report coming out during the Tour and upstaging the race.
Finally, I'll thank you not to stoop to ad hominem attack -- this is my site, and you're a guest here. If you can't stay off the furniture, I'll have to ask you to leave.
Posted by: Frank at Jul 2, 2006 11:08:41 PM
1st, I hope Broadmoor is a name of the team that races in the US.
2nd, for all of us amateurs that actually race, we all know how hectic a sprint is, without having foam hands being waved in our face. Race cycling already has enough dangers without crowd involvement, and I am 100% behind L in this.
Tonight I was at a bar and a couple of poseurs said,"what a wimp, he was only riding a bike." 40 miles an hour and hitting stuff can cause serious injury. Hitting bugs @20 hurts. The comparison between auto racing and bicycle racing is a true act of cluelessness. I'm surprised Thor didn't break his arm.
Third: If the bicycle riders had the players associations like the pro leagues of the US, they would only be tested 3 times a year UNTIL they are caught, and then put on suspension for one month for the first time, a year for the second, and 2 years for the third. Bad examples, but Tyler Hamilton, David Millar, Marco Pantani, Jan Ullrich(for coke,only one year, when he was sidelined because of a crash) got caught once, then a ban from the sport for two years. And these guys get tested before every big race. For all of you "American" sports fans, it is ILLEGAL FOR THE NBA TO TEST A PLAYER FOR MARIJUANA. To make my point clear, the bike racers don't have a players' association to help their cause against allegations of illegal aids.
I'm an American, I've been a pro athelete, and when outside influences interfere with competition, as a competitor, I have to back L 100% on this.
Hopefully I'm not Tom Cruise.
Posted by: DURACE3X9 at Jul 3, 2006 3:42:19 AM
It's a good thing L. and Tom didn't get hit with those PMU hands. With their thin skin they might've lost an arm.
Posted by: Jarrett at Jul 3, 2006 4:02:55 AM
Geeze. ONE of the reasons that cycling is not mainstream sport in America is that it is way too hard o become good at it. Anyone can ride a bike, but to do 27 mph for 120 miles, everyday, for a month?! Try doing just 20 mph for one hour on the flats. . . People cannot do it that sit at home all weekend memorizing other "sport" stats...To be a competitive cyclist, one must ride over 10,000 miles each year to be in the proper shape to even have a chance at the top levels...
Posted by: NICAD59 at Jul 3, 2006 8:48:25 AM
Frank is an American too and personally, I agree with him. If you're *already* a cycling fan, you don't need the crashes to lure you in but it's the kind of thing that will pique the interest of non-cycling fans. Sad, but true. Why do you think OLN constantly shows footage of a spectacular pileup in the peloton over and over in its teaser commercials for its TdF coverage?
I've seen the same thing with my favorite sport, short track speedskating - another sport people don't care about, except maybe once every 4 years. (Maybe!) Cycling is a mainstream sport in comparison to speed skating.
Anyway, during the Olympics or other rare times that short track attracts media coverage, what's the angle? 'Roller derby on ice' and 'NASCAR on ice' with shots of the many spectacular crashes that occur over the course of a meet. It sells.
Fans and athletes cringe at this, but those remain crowd- and camera-pleasing moments..
Posted by: noelle at Jul 3, 2006 9:19:54 AM
The NASCAR comparison is so off base it should be viewed as an insult. Let's blame ABC Sports' "Agony of Defeat"...we always watch the guy eat it off the ski high jump, but don't remember the "Thrill of Victory" shots.
Hushovd piles it, and rides the next day with the intent of lasting 3 weeks!!! These racers endure, road rashes, hot spots, ingrown toe nails, crotch wounds, vertibrae compression (from accidents), race induced organ damage when they really push it....and assume this is just a normal day in the life. When the avg joe pro sporter in the US would be sidelined with pay for a similar affliction.
Thor gets the Jack Youngblood award (Jack played for the LA Rams as DE with a Broken Femur throught he playoffs and a losing Superbowl outing).
I'm sure we will tune in tonight to our local News, witness someone beaned by a pitch, a bench clearing slap fest, A NASCAR pile up with a life flight copter..... no mention of the Tour, no Ironman results from around the world......hmmmm.
I live vicariously through their victories, not the accidents.
Posted by: Derosarider at Jul 3, 2006 11:59:28 AM
Regarding fan "access" or proximity to the riders, I think cycling (and especially the Tour) is unique.
I remember Armstrong referencing and embracing the tradition as part of the beauty of the sport, while being particularly "at risk" for some kind of "fan" mischief.
Those finishes scare the stuffings out of me (and no one should be sliced with a silly green hand!), but I do think the access and proximity is part of the beauty.
P.S. to Frank: At the risk of climbing all over your furniture, I think the timing of Operacion Puerto going public is highly suspicious. And thanks for a great, fun site.
Posted by: Rex at Jul 3, 2006 1:12:03 PM
How fitting it is that American fans are still criticized by the "refined" Europeans who complaim about every aspect of the race but can't afford a few thousand Euros to put some barriers up along the most crowded sections of the race. I seem to remember Armstrong getting snagged on some usless fan chotsky not too long ago and amazingly enough, he went on to win the Tour. Now that one of the Europens has been set back in time and inured by the sane junk, maybe someone will wise up and ban this stuff within 15 feet,4 meters of the barriers. Finally, more poetic justice that the big challengers to Armstrong are all out of the race and the French themselves have cleared Armstrong of any wrongdoing in all 7 of his Tour Wins. Silly backward Americans huh!?
Posted by: Shane at Jul 3, 2006 1:21:01 PM
I can't believe how up-in-little-green-cardboard-arms everyone got over a throwaway joke by Frank. No one here can deny the fact that (despite us) most Americans aren't watching Le Tour, and wouldn't be watching it even if Lance was still in the mix.
I think the real outrage here is how Tour organizers' response to this accident is to ban cardboard hands from the direct run-in to the finish line. I, too, appreciate the beauty of the race in all of its wonder, including the chaotic finishes, but I have never raced professionally, and I have no idea of the stress and skill it takes to maneuver the race even without fan interference.
Keep up the good work, Frank. This is my number one site for tour reports.
Posted by: Scout at Jul 3, 2006 2:30:00 PM