Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland has received insurance compensation three years after a media car ran him and Juan Antonio Flecha off the road in the 2011 Tour de France.
“It has taken a long time, but I’m glad it’s all behind us,” Hoogerland told Dutch website Helden Online. “I understand that insurance issues often take much longer. It does not matter, it’s fixed now.”
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Hoogerland settled with AIG, the insurance company representing the France 2 media car in the ninth stage of the 2011 Tour. He did not reveal the amount paid.
He and Flecha were taken out when the car overtaking his five-man escape group swerved right to avoid a tree. The other three continued in hot stage to Saint-Flour. Luis León Sánchez won the stage and Thomas Voeckler took enough time to take the yellow jersey.
France 2’s driver Adrien Hillairet hit team Sky’s Flecha, who shot off to the right, collided with Hoogerland and sent him flying onto a barbed wire fence. The Dutchman was left tangled in the sharp wires with his blue Vacansoleil shorts ripped to shreds. The scars remain around his calves and, he says, at times still itch.
“That’s not a nice feeling,” he added, “but it does not bother me when I ride.”
Hoogerland won the 2013 Dutch Championships, rode with Italian team Androni Giocattoli in 2014 and signed with new Dutch team Roompot for 2015. Off the bike, he battled to recover from the Saint-Flour incident.
“There are medical expenses, legal costs, but that’s not all,” Hoogerland’s manager, Aart Vierhouten told Cycling Weekly in 2012. “He lost a chance to win a stage and the polka dot jersey, a chance to earn more and a better contract.”
Through his lawyer, Marjan Olfers, Hoogerland requested €400,000 from France 2’s parent company Euro Media. He did not say how much he and AIG settled on, but that he is ready to look ahead.
Hoogerland said, “I’m just glad that I can cross if off my list.”
“That was the saddest moment of my career,” Flecha told Cycling Weekly last year when he retired. “The case is still going on.”
Flecha won a criminal suit against Hillairet in the year after the incident and received €10,000 that began a compensation case. He explained to Cycling Weekly today that in December he hopes to end the case at a hearing in France.
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