Spectator hits Tour de France rider in the face

Updated: July 19, 2005, 1:31 PM ET
Associated Press

PAU, France -- Andrey Kashechkin was hit in the face by a spectator during the 16th stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday and said organizers needed to improve security on the roads.

The spectator, who was cheering on the riders as they raced up a climb, hit the Kazakh rider in the face, apparently accidentally, as he cycled past.

"This is crazy what happened," Kashechkin said after finishing 59th. "Somebody on the side of the road hit me in the face. I don't understand why. The Tour must do something about the security now."

Kashechkin headed back down the climb to see a race doctor following behind in a car. He was treated for a nose bleed.

"I don't know if he did it on purpose (but) I went back to find that person," Kashechkin said. "But I could not find anybody there. I'm still in a lot of pain, even now."

After getting treatment, Kashechkin continued riding, occasionally wiping his nose with his hand. Kashechkin said that he was going to the hospital for X-rays.

"It's bad what happened to him," teammate Thor Hushovd said.

During Sunday's 15th stage, a spectator running alongside riders up another climb went under the wheels of a motorcycle carrying a TV cameraman who was filming the race.

Discovery Channel team director Johan Bruyneel agreed that security needs to improve.

"It's difficult to put barricades the whole way, but things are getting out of control," Bruyneel said.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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