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Where Are They Now? Johnny Hoogerland, the man from that barbed wire crash

Where Are They Now? Johnny Hoogerland, the man from that barbed wire crash 2020-09-29Leave a comment

electrical bike The place Are They Now? Johnny Hoogerland, the person from that barbed wire crash

The person from the barbed wire. The polka dot jersey. The tears on the Tour de France podium. That’s how most individuals will keep in mind Johnny Hoogerland.

It was stage 9 of the 2011 Tour de France and Hoogerland was within the breakaway, successful again the KOM jersey. With 37 km to go within the stage, a France Tv automotive tried to sneak previous the breakaway, against commissaires orders, and collided with Juan Antonio Flecha. The Spaniard went down and Hoogerland, behind him, was catapulted off the street and right into a barbed wire fence.

Remarkably, he continued on, ending the stage and incomes the KOM jersey and the joint combativity prize for the day (with Flecha). He required 33 stitches to shut up all his wounds.

“As a rider I didn’t wish to be reminded of it on a regular basis however I’ve come to just accept it,” he says, greater than 9 years on. “It’s part of me and folks will hold remembering it, and remind me. If I take a look at it now it’s really nice that individuals nonetheless consider that day and admire what I did.”

Hoogerland was a footballer till he was 12. He then jumped on the bike, turned a promising junior, gained the U19 Tour of Flanders and joined the world-renowned Rabobank junior workforce. He turned Dutch nationwide champion, wore the polka dot jersey on the Tour de France, got here in fifth in Il Lombardia, and twelfth within the Vuelta. He retired from racing in 2016.

“That nationwide title in 2013 was very sudden and subsequently it stands out,” he says when requested about his most memorable outcomes. “It was an actual onerous race within the hilly south of the Netherlands, a race of attrition. Sebastian Langeveld and I had been the one ones left on the entrance. He then dropped and by some type of miracle I took the title. It was only some months after my accident in Spain. In hindsight I ought to have stopped shortly after that 12 months 2013.”

Hoogerland refers back to the training accident he had in February of 2013 in Benidorm, Spain. The Dutchman broke 5 ribs, 4 vertebrae, and tore his liver. He spent two days within the intensive care unit of a Spanish hospital. It took virtually two weeks earlier than he may return house.

“I shouldn’t have continued so long as I did,” he tells me. “I ought to have give up two years earlier. My bodily assessments had been fairly good however mentally I by no means recovered. I had concern in descents. It was mentally very onerous however don’t get me flawed, I’ve all the time been and stayed keen about biking however I by no means reached my former stage anymore.”

The aftermath of Hoogerland’s combat with barbed wire on stage 9 of the 2011 Tour de France.

Hoogerland sits throughout from me in his pension in Velden am Wörthersee, in southern Austria. He’s tanned from a summer time of using, working outdoors within the backyard, and sustaining the 13-room visitor home. His arms are greater than they was however his legs are nonetheless as lean as a professional bike racer’s.

“I trip rather a lot,” he says. “Many bike teams go to us right here and so they can e-book me as a information. I additionally made many biking routes for our friends to trip themselves. That’s what I did throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.

“I may also trip via winter right here. The south of Austria could be chilly however there may be hardly any wind. Winter rides are stunning if there isn’t a snow. If there may be snow, I don’t trip, or I drive an hour to Italy the place it’s all the time 10 levels hotter. I’m not an indoor coach type of man, by no means was.”

Hoogerland and his spouse Gerda have run the pension since January of 2018. He did many of the demolition and constructing work himself. The pension has a spread of friends: professional riders and mates from the peloton, teams of motorcycle mates, or simply folks having fun with the city of Velden am Wörthersee, usually dubbed the Monaco of Austria.

“That was our luck throughout the COVID disaster — the Austrians themselves liked coming right here when the Dutch couldn’t,” he mentioned. “When the borders had been open once more, we had a full home for a lot of weeks however even with out the Dutch friends we’d have been absolutely booked. Fortunately it wasn’t as dire as we’d have thought in March.

“In fact, it was not so good as 2019. As a younger entrepreneur after a one-and-a-half-year transforming, the disaster was not welcome however we made it via.”

After his profession Hoogerland and his spouse sat down and mentioned their plans for the longer term. He wished to spend time together with his household: spouse Gerda and their two daughters Tess and Saar. In addition they wished journey.

“I may have been the one hundredth particular person in France beginning a B&B however I wished one thing more difficult,” he recollects. “Folks often affiliate Austria with winter sports activities however bike using is nice right here. Italy and Slovenia are simply across the nook. You are able to do straightforward rides right here or actual steep climbs. It’s my problem to make this space better-known.”

You gained’t see Hoogerland again within the entourage of the professional peloton any time quickly. He doesn’t wish to be away from house for lengthy intervals of time anymore. He additionally will get automotive sick which makes driving a workforce automotive barely sophisticated. He does love serving to out youthful riders although. If he can be concerned in biking once more, it could be in that route.

“The groups are actually so extremely younger,” he says. “In my time they had been extra conservative and allow you to wait and develop for just a few years earlier than going to the Tour de France. Now a 21-year-old wins the Tour de France and a 19-year-old wins massive Classics like San Sebastian.

“Remco Evenepoel is a particular particular person, one which will get born possibly as soon as each 50 years. There’s all the time numerous criticism on Patrick Lefevere however I believe Deceuninck-QuickStep is the most effective place Evenepoel could be. So much has modified in 20 years. These younger guys get a lot extra steerage now. It’s severe proper from the beginning.”

You gained’t discover Hoogerland in entrance of the TV watching each race that’s on. He watches when he can and often when riders he follows are on — his fellow riders from the province of Zeeland for instance, like Antwan Tolhoek (Jumbo-Visma) and Nick van der Lijke (Riwal-Securitas). However he likes spending time together with his household extra.

“Our seven-year-old Saar has a mountain bike now however I gained’t inform her or Tess to start out biking,” he says. “They will select no matter they need. To be sincere, I’d slightly not have my daughters in a peloton. It’s a really harmful sport and I choose them protected. This could in all probability additionally go for boys if I had sons.”

Trying again, Hoogerland has nice reminiscences of his final newbie years with the Van Vliet workforce. It was a time when he was younger and carefree, when biking was enjoyable firstly. It was additionally when he was most profitable.

“Biking has all the time been my ardour, even once I turned professional,” he says. “If it turns into a job, it’s a must to cease. It doesn’t work. That’s what I additionally educate the children right here on the native membership. They trip from the age of 6-7 and I simply inform them that enjoyable is a very powerful factor. Typically I see mother and father who really feel the success of their youngsters is paramount. I don’t like that. Allow them to have enjoyable. Bike using is enjoyable. Particularly right here.”

Since retiring, Hoogerland has discovered himself having fun with mountain biking. He even gained two phases in a neighborhood MTB race.

“Jasper Ockeloen [former Dutch MTB marathon champion] and Riejanne Markus (CCC-Liv) came to visit right here to coach,” Hoogerland says. “Jasper requested me alongside to this race. I borrowed a extremely good mountain bike from a good friend. We actually labored effectively as a workforce so possibly some duo races are on the horizon. It doesn’t should be Cape Epic immediately,” he provides with a smile.

“We will additionally begin in European races just like the Transalp. Discovering a problem in one thing new is good. I additionally deliberate on doing many massive gravel races this 12 months however they received all cancelled.

“That aggressive drive won’t ever actually go away, I assume. I actually like this new path.”

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