Bizarre Accidents at the Tour de France

Following the Tour de France, Levi Leipheimer fractured his wrist at the end of Stage 12 and had to withdrawal from the tour.  During stage 14 a motorcycle hit a woman, killing her and a couple others were injured by a motorcycle as well.  A couple cyclists were shot at during Stage 13.

This year’s Tour de France is marred by bizarre events.

Bizarre events do happen.  I should know.  I’m a product of one.

I had the best and most hysterical fall—if there could ever be such a thing—in the fall of last year.  This I know for certain: I can make people laugh at my hardship and I will never look at geese the same way again.

I’m a cyclist.  I love the speeds I can gain while riding.  Coming across other cyclists that have a better speed than me is an appetizing challenge.

The aerodynamics at play is simple.  While they push the air in front of them, they create a lower pressure behind them, creating a draft.

That’s right, I’m a drafter.

The catch, you have to remain close to the cyclist in front of you, to have the advantage of drafting.  Your wind resistance decreases the closer you are to the biker in front of you.

It isn’t much different than geese when they fly creating their “V” formation.  The lead breaks the air in front while those behind have less wind resistance, creating less drag.  It is the best energy conservation imaginable.

Just like animals that roam in packs, so do cyclists.  A peloton is a group of cyclists riding together.  Cyclists can create a pace line which is called an echelon.  By being in the pack, they create an even bigger draft.  The advantage is obvious.  It saves energy for the unit as well as for the individual.

Geese also stay in packs called a gaggle.  When in the air, they are called a skein.

What do you call a gaggle changing to a skein?


Who said ignorance doesn’t hurt?

The goose opened its wings after hearing the call to take flight.  The wings got caught in my bike wheel as I was biking by.

A freak accident.

The goose waddled away from the calamity, a true hit-and-run.  I didn’t hear any further honks after its squawking of coming into contact with me; just a few fallen feathers remained on the asphalt road.

And it’s the asphalt road where Saxo Bank rider Jens Voigt hit face first when his bike hit a lip in the road during Stage 16 of the Tour de France.  Considered to be another possible freak accident after he hit the lip, he slid 20 feet before he came to a stop.  He was making the second largest decent on Stage 16 when he had the accident that left him unconscious.  He gained consciousness on his way to the hospital and is now recovering.

This is the second team member that Saxo Bank has lost in a week.  During Stage 10 Kurt-Asle Arvesen crashed after attempting to miss a spectator.

Click here to view Jens Voigt’s crash.

Sources:  New York Times, Sky News, Tour de France, ESPN, YouTube.