Tour de France 2011 Video: 10 Most Dramatic Crashes of the 2011 Tour
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
The 2011 Tour de France has been one of the most watched and talked about tours in many years.
The organizers created a route that provided excitement and great racing over three weeks in July.
Unfortunately, crashes also played a large part in the tour with a lot of riders withdrawing from injury with plenty of incidents out on the road.
Here are the videos of the 10 most dramatic crashes in the tour this year.
10. Alberto Contador Gets Tangled
Contador hits the deck
A simple crash that may not have even caught our attention had it not been Alberto Contador, the defending champion...and had it not been preceded by a series of other small crashes.
A controversial figure in cycling, Contador was allowed to ride in France despite awaiting to hear his fate after a positive drug test in the 2010 tour. As a result, few in France will have sympathy for the Spaniard after his series of tumbles.
Contador apparently lost control and was thrown from his bike after his handlebars tangled with the seat of another rider.
9. Bradley Wiggins Bad Break
Wiggins tour is ended prematurely
Bradley Wiggins represented real hope for Britain in the General Classification until the Olympic gold medalist crashed out on stage seven.
The recently crowned British champion was caught in a pile up of riders that was missed by the cameras, although they caught the aftermath as Wiggins came off worse than others who tumbled.
Determined to carry on, his Sky Pro Cycling teammates waited to assist before he eventually succumbed to the pain and was rushed to the hospital to discover he had a broken collarbone.
8. Jens Voigt Injures Mountain
Voight crashed twice in quick succession
Fan favourite and tough-man Jens Voigt did his best to recreate his dramatic 2009 crash that forced him out of the race, but this time the mountain knew better!
The veteran German misjudged his speed on a descent and crashed straight off the edge of the road, out of sight and into some bushes.
He emerged unscathed, lifting his bike above his head to get free from the shrubs before continuing his descent.
That crash meant Voigt started taking risks in an effort to make up for lost time. Soon enough that led to another crash, and this time the chasing camera's got an even better view!
7. Geraint Thomas Tanks It
Thomas almost goes over the edge
Geraint Thomas of Sky Pro Cycling was part of a six man breakaway on Bastille Day and things were looking great for the Welshman as he powered his way over the day's first climb.
The excitement was just too much for the Olympic team pursuit champion as he followed Jeremy Roy towards the Tourmalet, he slipped and missed a corner!
Luckily for team Sky, Thomas was not able to stay upright as he would have rode straight down into the valley below. Definitely not a good idea!
6. Alexandre Vinokourov Dives out the Sport
Vinokourov retired after the crash
This was the worst day of the tour by a long way.
With the recent death of Wouter Weyland in the Giro still fresh in their memory, the riders had been hoping to avoid any scenes like this.
In this case, it is most welcome that the cameras did not capture the actual crash as several riders were badly hurt. As riders came down a slippery descent it only took one man to slip which caused a high-speed chain reaction.
Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Frederik Willems and David Zabriskie all crashed hard on the tarmac and suffered a broken shoulder, collarbone and wrist respectively.
The real horror moment for passing riders was when they noticed Alexandre Vinokourov had swerved to miss a falling rider and left the road, crashing down a steep bank into a wooded area. The Astana rider suffered a badly broken femur and the veteran has since retired from professional cycling after what many riders described as the worst crash they have seen.
5. Yellow Causes a Pile Up
Whatever Thomas can do, we can do better
Bastille Day provided a little more entertainment after Geraint Thomas' mini expedition on the mountain.
Just a few minutes after the Welshman had slipped and fallen on a corner, the leaders came through and had the exact same fate.
Yellow jersey wearer Thomas Voeckler slipped and crashed into a car, which set off a chain reaction causing many of the following riders to fall behind him.
4. Spectator Stops Race...on the First Day
Ignatiev hits a woman
On the first day of the Tour de France, with nerves running high and riders looking to just make it to the finish, a spectator made sure they did not.
For some reason this woman was looking away from the riders after spending the whole day out on the road waiting to see the bikes pass by. When they finally did, she was looking the wrong way!
That meant she had stepped out a little too far and Mikhail Ignatiev struck the woman, causing a huge pileup that held up much of the peloton, forcing them to give up time on the first day.
3. Samuel Dumoulin Goes Head over Heels
Dumoulin loses control in the last corner
On the final run into the line on stage three, Samuel Dumoulin had a big impact on the result.
Not because he powered through to take victory, but because he crashed into the barriers on the final corner in spectacular fashion.
The Confidis rider almost managed to complete a full front flip and land back on his bike, which was enough to hamper the efforts of eventual green jersey winner Mark Cavendish in the final sprint.
2. Laurens Ten Dam Headbutts the Mountain
ten Dam need stitches on his face
Dutchman Laurens ten Dam ended up needing stitches to his face after this cartoon-like crash on stage 14.
Taking a corner a little too wide, the Rabobank rider was relieved to find some grass that would allow him to ease back onto the road and get away with the mistake.
But the mountain had other ideas!
Ten Dam hit something in the grass and flipped over the top of his handlebars, smashing face first into the ground.
1. Juan Antonio Flecha and Johnny Hoogerland Hit by a Car
Flecha and Hoogerland take a shocking fall
This added to the drama on stage nine. The small breakaway group had not been involved in the earlier crash that resulted in four riders being hospitalised with broken bones, and it seems the France television driver did not like that.
Whilst passing the riders, the driver swerved to avoid a tree and struck Juan Antonio Flecha of Sky.
He was sent crashing to the ground while the rider behind him, Johnny Hoogerland, was launched from his bike and sent flying into a barbed wire fence.
Both men went on to finish the tour, Flecha with a damaged elbow and Hoogerland with 33 stitches in his legs, which as you can imagine were badly cut in the barbed wire.
Two of the bravest men in the tour, getting up and riding on after a crash that should never have happened and we hope never happens again.