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"It has taken a long time, but I'm glad it's all over. I understand that insurance issues often take much longer. It does not matter. Now it's solved."

Photo: Sirotti


05.11.2014 @ 15:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After three years of waiting, Johnny Hoogerland has finally received financial compensation for the dramatic crash at the 2011 Tour de France. The Dutchman is pleased to put the issue behind and focus on his first season with the Rompoot team.


Three years ago Johnny Hoogerland was catapulted off his bike at the Tour de France in front of a worldwide audience after a stupid action by a car from France Televisions. He ended up in a barbed wire fence alongside the road and sustained serious injuries. It led to a major debate and a long fight for insurance compensation. That has now come to an end. Hoogerland has reached a settlement with AIG, the company that was responsible for the car.


"It has taken a long time, but I'm glad it's all over," Hoogerland told Helden Online. "I understand that insurance issues often take much longer. It does not matter. Now it's solved."


After his bizarre crash in stage 9 of the 2011 Tour de France, the Dutchman got back on his bike. After the stage, he recived the polka-dot jersey on the podium and then managed to finish the tour with character and willpower. In that way he vecame a national heroin that particular ninth stage of the Tour de France in 2011, de Zeeuw got bleeding and full of pain back on the bike. After the finish he received on stage emotion the polka dot jersey and then drove on character and willpower the Tour. So Johnny grew into a national hero. Hoogerland has now received financial compensation for the suffering.


"You know that money does not interest me. I'm just glad that I can now leave the story behind. It's not that I always got insurance letters or I but once in a while I am still confronted with the issue when people or the media ask me. So I have always had the case on my mind. Luckily that is now over."

The insurance issue should be solved but the barbed wire story continues to haunt him. Every day Hoogerland gets remarks from the public about the incident.


"People yell things like, "Hey, here's no barbed wire, you know." I have no idea why they do that. I have said often enough that I'm getting a little tired of it, but people seem to find it fun to do it. Usually I just do not respond to it. I have got used to it, it does not affect me much anymore."


Apart from the scars on the back of his legs, he has no physical discomforts from the crash.


"In hot weather the scars sometimes hurt. That's not a nice feeling, but it does not bother me on the bike."


The 2013 Dutch champion prefers to talk about cycling, and especially about the upcoming year with his new employer, the new Dutch team Roompot Orange Cycling. Last season Hoogerland rode in the service of the Italian Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela, but was not successful. 

"With the Italians, it was differently from I was used to with Vacansoleil-DCM," Hoogerland looks back. "I speak quite a lot of languages, but not Italian. The Italians spoke only little English, so that was a difficult story. I have not had a  good season. Why that is, I do not know. My preparation was the same as in other years but it just did not work. I also have no desire to look for excuses. The reality is that I have not done well. It was a bad year and I was glad when the season was over.


"I do not regret my choice to sign for Androni. In retrospect, it is easy to say. I made that decision wholeheartedly but it did not work out. Still, it's been a learning year. "


Next season he is back in Dutch service in a team with only Dutch riders. That is the approach of Roompot Orange Cycling, a Pro-Continental team that is set up by the cycling giants Michael Zijlaard, Erik Breukink, Michael Boogerd and Jean-Paul van Poppel. 


"Very soon I knew that I was not going to be in Italy and so I contacted Michael Zijlaard," said Hoogerland. "At that time everything was still very early, but when it was clear a few months later that the team would be created and we started to talk, it went fast. I think it's a very nice project, a complete Dutch team. Boogerd, Breukink and Van Poppel have done a lot in cycling, the are all champions. I can learn a lot from them and it's nice to see how excited they are.


"And then we also have Johan van der Velde as a bus driver. He is such a nice man. He's really someone who can encourage you if you have raced poorly. I think we will be very close as a team and go through fire for each other. In that respect, it fits perfectly with me, I have a very good feeling."


As a pro continental team, Roompot Orange Cycling will not ride all the big races on the cycling calendar. The Dutch formation is dependent on wildcards from the race organizers, but is already guaranteed a participation in the Amstel Gold Race and the Eneco Tour. Hoogerland will be one of the leaders that is expected to deliver impressive results. 


"I'm one of the older riders, so it goes without saying that I'm going to help the young guys. Whether I have a feeling of revenge because I have not achieved any results last year? Revenge is not the right word. I'm just very motivated for the next season. I am really looking forward to riding for myself and the team and to perform well in the spring."



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