Johnny Hoogerland is going to court against Euro Media, who auto driver forced him off the road and into a barbed wire fence during stage 9 of last year's Tour de France. The media company has apparently shown little interest in negotiating a settlement with the Vacansoleil-DCM rider, and today is the deadline for filing a suit.
With only 36km to go on the ninth stage of the Tour 2011, Hoogerland and Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) were in a five man-break group going for the win. The media car attempted to pass them on a narrow road and ended up hitting Flecha. The Spaniard crashed, and Hoogerland collided with him and was then catapulted into a barbed-wire fence alongside the road.
Both riders finished the race, and Hoogerland went on the podium to receive the King of the Mountains jersey with tears in his eyes and extensive bandages on his legs.
“We have tried long enough” to come to an agreement, his manager Aart Vierhouten told De Telegraaf. “That failed, so unfortunately we have to take a different tack. And that is through the judicial process. Yesterday I actually had an appointment with a representative of Euro Media, but he never showed up.”
Tour organizer ASO will have nothing to do with the matter, he said. “This week I was in Paris to ask the ASO if they would take any responsibility. All they say is, you must talk to the director of Euro Media. They gave us his number, nothing more. The human aspect is hard to find.”
Hoogerland is said to still suffer from back pain, mood swings and insomnia as a result of the crash.