No fractures for Belgian Olympic hopeful
BMC's Philippe Gilbert has had his run of bad luck in the 2012 Tour de France, but when a stray dog on the course in stage 18 knocked him off his bike, it was the final straw.
The former Belgian champion had to be stopped from confronting the animal's owner by team director John Lelangue as his anger and fear at the possibility of missing out on the Olympic Games in London due to the spectator's carelessness came to a boil.
"How irresponsible can people be to let such a big dog just roam free?" Gilbert said after the stage. "All of a sudden we saw a big black dog appear in the peloton. We were going at a high speed at that time, so it was inevitable that riders would crash."
Taken down in addition to the Belgian were Denis Menchov (Katusha) and Frenchman Arthur Vichot (FDJ-Big Mat).
"[The dog] ran into the middle of the bunch and there was nothing we could do to avoid it," Gilbert said. "I was pretty upset at the people because I think it's very dangerous to leave such a big dog running into the bunch. It could have been really bad. In the end, I have bruises on my left shoulder and elbow but nothing broken, which is most important ahead of the Olympics. I was lucky."
Astana's Janez Brajkovic also had a bad fall in the stage today, adding to his multiple crashes in the first week. He was able to regain the front group and maintain his ninth place in the general classification.
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