UnitedHealthcare rider left on roadside with destroyed bike
Jeff Louder is heading home prematurely from the Tour de Langkawi after failing to finish the stage to Genting Highlands. The UnitedHeathcare rider was hit by an official race vehicle whilst on the climb and was left by the roadside with a destroyed bike and no way to make it to the top. His team director wasn't informed of the incident and the commissaire vehicle which hit him from behind failed to stop.
Louder was riding his way up the climb when he suddenly found himself being hit by a race official's car. Louder had been "yo-yoing" off the back on the tough ascent before coming to an abrupt halt. He had been hit from behind.
"I was kind of in the cars and yo-yoing a bit, following a couple of riders when basically, we were coming around the com [commissaire] car and the next thing I knew I had a front-left bumper in my real wheel," he told Cyclingnews.
"It ripped off my derailleur, I was able to keep it up, I didn't get hurt which is a good thing but I had to stop. My bike was destroyed. The whole rear mech was just ripped off. There was no fixing it. The team car was ahead of me and he wasn't alerted so the race went on. He [the driver] just continued on," he added.
Louder had been eating breakfast with his teammates on the morning of Stage 6 and with time to reflect on the previous day's event remained frustrated that his race was over but was diplomatic about the situation. He had accepted the commissaire's decision not to allow him back into the race but was saddened to be returning home.
"It's frustrating because it puts a bad mark for me on the race and it's not fair. It's a great race. Even the other day when I was racing, Pieter Weening - this is the first time he has done it - I was telling him how I did this race in 2005 and it's improved so much since then and it's a great race. I was really enjoying it," he said.
"I feel bad that the choice of one com [making] a really poor decision has taken me out of the race. I don't blame the other officials or the organisation because in the end they did everything right. I didn't finish the bike race.
"I just wish I'd had a fair chance to get a bike. In the end no one was even alerted that my bike had fallen apart or that I'd been hit. My director didn't know and our second car didn't have a spare bike and no one else had a spare bike for me. So, that's the end of that. It was too far to walk."
The team is now left with five riders who have a strong chance in picking up a stage win before the tour wraps-up with handy sprinters Aldo Ilesic and Jacob Keough while Lucas Euser sits in 19th place overall, 5:24 from the race leader.
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