Johnny Hoogerland, who was infamously involved in a crash between a car and another rider during the 2011 Tour de France, rebounded from another accident with a car earlier this year to win the road race at the Dutch Championships on Sunday.
Hoogerland, who rides for Vacansoleil-DCM, won the 228-kilometer race by breaking away from the field in the final kilometers to win in solo fashion.
“When I rode beside our team bus in the last lap, I got tears in my eyes,” Hoogerland said in a Vacansoleil press release. “After all the misery of the past two years, this is just fantastic. It’s been a long road. But maybe I come back better than ever before. Nothing is more beautiful than to go to the Tour in our national colors. It’s a dream come true.”
The 30-year-old was hit by a car in February during a training ride in Spain, resulting in five broken ribs, a fracture in his spine, and a bruised liver. He returned to action in late April.
At the 2011 Tour, Hoogerland crashed into a barbed wire fence after a media car sideswiped Juan Antonio Flecha. Both riders finished the stage and were given the Combativity Award for the day. Hoogerland received 33 stitches in his legs because of the accident.