Frenchman Thomas Voeckler finished second and took the overall race leader’s yellow jersey from Thor Hushovd of Norway.
Team Sky rider Juan Antonio Flecha was struck by a car late in Sunday’s ninth stage of the Tour de France, sending the Spaniard flying into Dutch cyclist Johnny Hoogerland and bringing them both down.
Flecha had cuts to his legs and arms but got back on his bike. Hoogerland also remounted his bike for both to continue racing.
The Tour car was parallel to Flecha before seemingly misjudging how close it was to the Spaniard and turned into him, knocking him off his saddle to collide with Hoogerland, who flew into a ditch.
The 33-year-old Flecha’s jersey was shredded on the back and blood dripped from his knee and elbow. Despite the heavy fall, he rode at a decent pace upon resuming racing.
By sheer luck, Hoogerland escaped a potentially horrific injury as he was sent flying narrowly over a barbed wire fence.
The pair had been in a front group of five when the incident happened but both were soon caught by the chasing pack, Hoogerland appearing to be in some difficulty as he pedaled.
Earlier on Sunday, a mass crash forced Kazakh rider Alexandre Vinokourov out of the race with a suspected broken leg. Defending champion Alberto Contador also crashed, but the Spaniard was unharmed and got back on his bike.
Video interview with Stage winner Luis Leon Sanchez:
Check out this video of the car incident, INSANE:
Stage 10 preview and who to watch:
As the race heads towards the Pyrenees, we will be heading through the Cévennes for two days. These stages are rolling, but lack any significant difficulty. But the heat can take a toll on the riders. The breakaway specialists will be dreaming of victory, as will the specialist sprinters, even though the latter are going to spend the whole day suffering because today’s route is not all flat. After the first rest day, those riders who have not had a good first week and think that they won’t have too many chances beyond this will be determined to show themselves. However, at the same time, the sprinters’ teams will not want to let them slip away. Consequently, we could well see this stage finish in a bunch sprint
Video of Stage 10 route:
Overall standings after Stage 9:
1. Thomas Voeckler (FRA/EUC) 38h35min 11sec
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (ESP/RAB) at 1:49.
3. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) 2:26.
4. Frank Schleck (LUX/LEO) 2:29.
5. Andy Schleck (LUX/LEO) 2:37.
6. Tony Martin (GER/HTC) 2:38.
7. Peter Velits (SVK/HTC) 2:38.
8. Andreas Kloden (GER/RSH) 2:43.
9. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/OLO) 2:55.
10. Jakob Diemer Fuglsang (DEN/LEO) 3:08.
11. Ivan Basso (ITA/LIQ) 3:36.
12. Damiano Cunego (ITA/LAM) 3:37.
13. Nicolas Roche (IRL/ALM) 3:45.
14. Kevin De Weert (BEL/QST) 3:47.
15. Robert Gesink (NED/RAB) 4:01.
16. Alberto Contador (ESP/SAX) 4:07.
17. Tom Danielson (USA/GRM) 4:22.
18. Rein Taaramae (EST/COF) 4:52.
19. Christian Vande Velde (USA/GRM) 4:53.
20. Samuel Sanchez (ESP/EUS) 5:01.
21. Carlos Barredo (ESP/RAB) 5:04.
22. Vladimir Karpets (RUS/KAT) 5:05.
23. Maxime Monfort (BEL/LEO) 5:07.
24. Thor Hushovd (NOR/GRM) 5:13.
25. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP/RSH) 5:14.
24. Maxime Monfort (BEL/LEO) 2:11.
25. Linus Gerdemann (GER/LEO) 2:14.