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The Early Lead
Posted at 02:24 PM ET, 07/12/2011

Tour de France: Car crashing into cyclists draws laughs from ESPN’s Michael Smith


The 2011 Tour de France has been marred by nasty crashes (from top, L to R): Slovenia's Janez Brakjovic receiving medical assistance after he crashed in the Carhaix; Ukraine's Yaroslav Popovych on the road after he crashed in the same stage; Kazakh's Alexandre Vinokourov being carried into the ambulance after he fractured his thighbone on Sunday and Spain's Juan Antonio Flecha (L) and Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland (R) seen after a crash caused by a television vehicle. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Perhaps if they were put to circus music, shot in double-time black and white film and ended with everyone receiving a pie in the face, then having a laugh while watching Sunday’s brutal Tour de France crashes would be understandable.

Mayyyyyyybe.

But when you witness the carnage caused by a reckless French television vehicle — seriously, look at poor Johnny Hoogerland’s leg and try do anything but cringe — in real time and recognize that the wounded riders are athletes and not stunt doubles, giggling like a school girl is not the first impulse. (Warning: Image below is graphic in nature.)

Unless you’re ESPN television personality Michael Smith, that is.

Here’s what Smith tweeted Monday — a comment that did not sit well with the cycling community.

For real, am I wrong for laughing at that Tour de France crash? Can't get over the driver speeding off as if he didn't know he hit someone!less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

UPDATE (7/13/11 9:00 a.m.): Smith issued an apology late Tuesdsay night on his Twitter account. See it here.

In case you missed it, here’s the video of a car bumping into Spain’s Juan-Antonio Flecha, who crashed into Hoogerland and sent the Dutchman flying through a barbed wire fence.

No question that hurt — and here’s the evidence. On Monday, French police opened an investigation into the crash.


(STRINGER/FRANCE - REUTERS)

But Smith just couldn’t get enough of the video clip.

I'm sorry that crash is hilarious. Every. Time.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

And then the tweets from the cyclists and bike enthusiasts of the world started rolling in...

@MrMichael_Smith whats more hilarious is how sick you areless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@MrMichael_Smith I'm glad you think hospitalization due to poor driving "not that serious" are you seriously that stupid?less than a minute ago via Mobile Web Favorite Retweet Reply

Smith got on the defensive...well...sort of....

It had far been too long since I'd angered an entire community. Today I've managed offend cyclists everywhere. Guess what? It's still funny.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

i'd like to apologize to cyclists, people who ride bikes, people who know people who ride bikes, and even paperboys. Happy? I miss anybody?less than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

Now there’s a thread on a blog called Tour de France Lanterne Rouge asking for ESPN to suspend Smith.

That’s highly unlikely, however, the backlash should show Smith just how large the cycling community is in the United States. Maybe next time he’ll keep his giggling to himself.

UPDATE: (7/13/11 9:00 a.m.) - Smith issues the following apology via Twitter late Tuesday night.

I apologize for my insensitive remarks re: the TdF crash. I recognize my comments were inappropriate given the serious nature of the crash.less than a minute ago via TweetCaster for Android Favorite Retweet Reply

By  |  02:24 PM ET, 07/12/2011

 
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