Riders shocked after Tour de France carnage

LE LIORAN, France,  (Reuters) – Riders were in a  state of shock on the first rest day of the Tour de France after  Sunday’s chaotic and crash-strewn ninth stage.

Four riders were forced out of the race after a huge pile-up  on a descent while Spain’s Juan-Antonio Flecha and Dutchman  Johnny Hoogerland were hit by a television car.

Even though the number of withdrawals this year has been no  greater than in the past after nine days of racing, the crashes  have been more spectacular and the injuries more serious than  usual.

“It’s the most particular course I have known on the Tour de  France. I hope that it will become a cycling race from now on  because up to now, we had the impression they were looking for  the most dangerous roads,” outspoken Swiss Fabian Cancellara,  who often acts as a spokesman for the peloton, told reporters. Flecha, who hurt his elbow, and Hoogerland, who lacerated  his legs on a barbed-wire fence, were recovering on Monday and  the Dutchman even went for a leisurely ride with his father. Flecha’s Team Sky asked organisers to “take appropriate  action” while Hoogerland’s Vacansoleil team were pondering their  options.

“We visited the teams of all the riders who crashed  yesterday. Vacansoleil are waiting to see how the rider feels  and if he is unwell, it could become a legal issue,” Tour de  France race director Jean-Francois Pescheux told Reuters.

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