Friday, July 17, 2009

Frickin Jackass'

Tour riders hit by pellet gun

Published: Jul. 17, 2009

Police have launched an investigation after two riders suffered light injuries when hit by shots fired from an airgun on the 13th stage of the Tour de France on Friday.

New Zealander Julian Dean of Garmin-Slipstream and Spaniard Oscar Freire of Rabobank were hit with pellets near the 165km mark of the 200km stage in the hilly Vosges region.

Freire, a three-time world road race champion, had to have a pellet removed from his leg by his team doctor after finishing the stage.

"He's got a bit of bruising but he will be able to start on Saturday," said his team boss.

Dean, the main lead-out man for American sprinter Tyler Farrar, was hit on a finger of his left hand, according to his Garmin team.

Police working on the stage were immediately alerted by the teams.

"Julian was shot by an air rifle or BB gun (pellet gun) at the top of a climb during the stage. He has a minor injury on his finger but he was able to finish," Garmin-Slipstream spokeswoman Marya Pongrace confirmed.

"(Tour organisers) ASO have asked police to open an investigation."

A spokesman for Rabobank said: "Oscar heard three shots and then felt a sting. A small shot was removed."

Tour organisers have confirmed an investigation had been opened and said both riders had given statements to the police.

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