El País: Interview with Flecha - "The driver didn't even stop!"

Juan Antonio Flecha of Team Sky, who was hit by a French TV car during stage 9, talks to the media on the rest day. Tour de France 2011. Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty.

Today in El Pais (Spanish newspaper) there's an interview with Flecha, written by his former teammate Pedro Horrillo. Here's the quick translation. He seems really pissed off (absolutely normal).

Here's the link for the original

Just 24 hours after becoming the front page of the Tour to his regret, Juan Antonio Flecha looks at the legs, swollen by inflammation, the bandaged knees and sighs sadly. "And I had come in such a good form!", says the first rider hit by an accredited TdF car during a stage. He fell with his fellow sufferer, Johnny Hoogerland. "Now the masseur has gotten ahold of me and given me a good look, at least, tells me that it's not as bad as he expected."

Question. Has Voeckler called you to see how you are?

Answer. No, and I wasn't expecting him to call me. Nor am I concerned, I don't really care what he can say.

P. And what did you think when Voeckler accelerated right after your crash and Hoogerland's?

R. I thought it was normal considering it is Voeckler, bc he's like that in every breakaway, sowing discord. Just before the crash (Sandy) Casar, another in the group, was telling him off because he attacked after fighting for the points of the mountain, instead of waiting for those who were not disputing them. He was with the yellow jersey fixation, it was all the same to him. We already know him, it would have surprised me otherwise.

P. But someone will have apologized, right?

R. Prudhomme directly only [Christian, director of the Tour], who came to see me at the hotel in the morning, and as I was in the hospital gave apologies to Dave Braislford , the team manager.

P. Do you remember the moments before the running over? Did you hear anything?

R. Curiously I heard nothing. All day there had been passing cars bothering us, blowing the horn sound to move us away and almost grazing us, but this one passed without blowing the horn. I was surprised and did not give me time to move away. I just saw a car coming at full speed at me, but of course you never expect that he's actually going to crash into you. Never has this happened in the Tour, how could I expect to happen it to me?

P. Did you talk to Hoogerland after the stage?

R. I talked to him before the end when we were both behind the peloton. He was bleeding all over and said, "I have to go to hospital." And I said, "me too".

P. When the peloton passed you, what did they said?

R. People encouraged us when they saw it in that state. They thought that something had happened but no one knew it was a car. They could not believe us.

P. How did you find the media reaction to the story?

R. Here not even in the hospital it was important, we have been treated as yet another incident, a thing of the Tour, but I know that in Holland, Italy, Spain, yes it has been important.

P. Has the driver appeared to apologise?

R. No he has not, and I think that if he came I would not like to talk to him. French Television has not apologized to me either. [according to sources familiar with the identity of the occupant of the car, it would be a famous TV presenter whose identity is kept so that the Tour will not be obliged to expel him].

P. And if you saw the driver?

R. One day while I was training, a car coming out of a road saw me and did not stop, and I went flying. I got up and had no desire to talk with him or argue. I didn't even looked at his face, he did not deserve it. And the one in the Tour didn't even stopped to see what we had done! That's the worst part, not stopping. I would have stopped.

P. How did you feel afterwards?

R. I had a moment of crying alone in the bus.

P. What did you think when the Tour awarded you and Hoogerland the combativity award?

R. It seemed surreal. It would seem ok to me for the TdF to reward us, but not precisely for combativeness, which was a prize that Voeckler deserved. They wanted to give us a consolation prize but we did not even met the bases to deserve it.

P. Will you stay in the Tour?

R. I prefer to think of going forward, I want to keep having fun on the bike and there are still beautiful stages and we'll see what I can do.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Podium Cafe

You must be a member of Podium Cafe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Podium Cafe. You should read them.

Join Podium Cafe

You must be a member of Podium Cafe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Podium Cafe. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.