The Frenchman Romain Feillu on Sunday warned against knee-jerk reactions to his Vacansoleil-DCM teammate Johnny Hoogerland's collision with a France Télévision car during stage 9 of the Tour de France.
Feillu urged those calling for dramatic action after the vehicle wiped out Hoogerland and Juan Antonio Flecha 36km from the finish line in Saint-Flour to remember that "motorbikes and cars are also essential in bike races".
A Getty Images motorbike was excluded from the Tour on stage 5 for tangling with the Danish rider Nicki Sörensen (Saxo Bank Sungard). Tonight, the incident which may have cost Flecha or Hoogerland a stage victory has thrust the role of vehicles following the Tour into the spotlight once again.
"I didn't know about Johnny's accident until I got to the finish because I was in the gruppetto and no one told us," Feillu said. "I don't know, though, it's too easy to say that motorbikes and cars shouldn't be in the race," he continued. "The Garde républicaine police motorbikes open up the roads for us and they do a brilliant job. They're artists, the absolute best at what they do. True, maybe there are a few too many other types of cars and motorbikes driven by people who aren't very experienced...I don't know, maybe there should be some kind of deviation system set up, or designated overtaking points. Today's roads were certainly very narrow for overtaking."
Feillu admitted finally that his Tour, like Hoogerland's, took a turn for the worse today with some early symptoms of tendinitis. "I didn't have a particularly good day," the Frenchman admitted. "I could feel a spot of tendinitis coming on, which is worrying. The rest day comes at a good time."