Saxo Bank’s Jens Voigt shrugged off the pain of yet another crash at the Tour de France.
On stage 16 Tuesday, Voigt was hurtling down the descent of the Col de Peyresourde, the first of four mountain passes, when he suffered a puncture and crashed at top speed.
The German managed to avoid a repeat of the horrific injuries he suffered during last year’s race when he landed on his face while rocketing along on a descent.
After waving away the help of race assistants in the broom wagon, Voigt battled on to finish the stage with the gruppetto, the group of sprinters and non-climbers who club together in a bid to beat the time cut-off.
“I’m doing 70 kilometers an hour on the first descent when my front tire explodes,” explained Voigt. “Before I hit the asphalt I actually manage to think that this is going to hurt. Both knees, elbows, hands, shoulders and the entire left side of my body were severely hurt.
“My ribs are hurting but hey, broken ribs are overrated anyway. Fortunately, I didn’t land on my face this time and I’m still alive.
“I was offered a ride on the truck that picks up abandoned riders but I’m not going to quit another Tour de France. Now there’s a rest day and Paris is not that far away.”
Schleck is eight seconds behind race leader and defending champion Alberto Contador of Astana, and the Luxembourger will be glad of Voigt’s assistance pacing him early on the climbs when the race resumes with stage 17 on Thursday.