The pack with three-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador of Spain, far right, and Thor Hushovd of Norway, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, center, rides in pouring rain during he sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 226.5 kilometers (140.7 miles) starting in Dinan, Brittany, and finishing in Lisieux, Normandy, western France, Thursday July 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
(CBS) -- Drug scandals notwithstanding, it's been a particularly ugly Tour de France this year thanks to all the crashes.
Perhaps the worst wreck of all occurred Sunday during the ninth stage when a car swerved, apparently to avoid a tree. As a result, the vehicle sideswiped Spain's Juan-Antonio Flecha, who then bumped into Dutch racer Johnny Hoogerland, who went flying into a barbed wire fence.
"I was bleeding everywhere," Flecha said Monday. "I saw Johnny laying there, and I said 'Wow."'
According to the Washington Post, the offending vehicle was a French television car - and at least one fellow rider wants revenge. Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland had this to say on Twitter: "This cardriver should get the same pain as my friend flecha."
The AP reports that police are investigating the incident.
While Flecha and Hoogerland have vowed to stay in the race, several riders have been forced to retire with serious injuries. They include Kazakh star Alexandre Vinokourov (broken thighbone) and British hope Bradley Wiggins (broken collarbone).
It's been so bad that the few unscathed riders are counting their blessings.
Said Andy Schleck, who was Tour runner-up to Alberto Contador in the past two years:"We feel very fortunate that none of our team members was involved in a big crash."
At least it's only riders getting bloodied and bruised. As the Post points out, an witting crash victim in the 2007 Tour de France was a roaming dog (Don't worry - the canine was okay).
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