ALBERTVILLE, France (July 22) – World Champion skier Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) learned Wednesday that watching the Tour de France can be as dangerous as competing. The U.S. Ski Team athlete was involved in a car-bike collision while riding back from spectating at a Tour stage.
Cycling back to Albertville shortly after watching the early portion of stage 17 of the Tour on the Col de Les Saisies, Lodwick rounded a corner and, in swerving to miss a stopped vehicle, collided head on with an oncoming car.
Lodwick rose to nordic combined success during the 2009 season as he made a return from retirement at the age of 31 to win two World Championship gold medals.
While he did suffer some bumps and bruises, Lodwick is in good condition. He was treated and released from an Albertville hospital. He will now rest before returning to the states.
“The crash happened very quickly, but I am happy to be uninjured, which is more than I can say for the car and my bike,” Lodwick said. “I am looking forward to getting to my family, resting up a bit and then heading back into the training season.”
Members of the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team are in France not only to watch the Tour, but also to train. They have been jumping with international teams in Courchevel while also taking in legs of the Tour. The Team will remain in France for another week.
“We’re training in Courchevel for a mixture of ski jumping and some lower altitude speed work,” Billy Demong said. “We also used the opportunity to ride our bikes on some of the Tour de France for a little bit. It is a great way to get some cross training and see the best cyclists in the world up close.”
The Americans were not the only Nordic athletes at the Tour. Sprint Junior World Champion Timo Andre Bakken of Norway enjoyed the final climb of the 15th stage to Verbier (SUI), cheering for the riders along with his family and another 100,000 fans.
Caroline Weibel and Emilie Vina from the French cross-country national team were at Le Grand-Bornand with Stephane Vittoz who said he took some good tips back with him for the next La Clusaz World Cup.
The cross-over also works in the opposite direction: The young German-Australian Heinrich Haussler, winner of the 13th stage from Vittel to Colmar in cold rain, commented: “Even if I was born in Australia where it is normally really hot, I like cold weather. Last winter, I trained much on cross-country skis and really enjoyed the long workouts in the snow. It was the perfect preparation for me.”
Sources: USSA, FIS