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1998 Tour de France

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Girl in critical condition after being hit by racer

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Posted: Tuesday July 14, 1998 11:17 AM

  At some portions of each Tour de France stage, spectators can get as close to the race as they want with little supervision (AP)

CORK, Ireland (AP) -- An 11-year-old girl was in critical condition Tuesday after being struck by a bicycle while watching the Irish stage of the Tour de France.

Laura Seward was among a group of spectators hit by one of the race competitors as cyclists sped through Youghal on Monday aftrnoon.

She suffered serious head injuries and was airlifted to Cork's University Hospital, where her condition was listed as critical.

The cyclist involved in the incident was not immediately identified. It was believed that he did not realize the magnitude of the accident and continued the stage on a replacement bicycle.

Irish police were investigating.

The girl was taken to the same hospital where British rider Chris Boardman was treated for a broken wrist and facial injuries after crashing Monday.

Boardman, who was wearing the leader's yellow jersey when he crashed out of the race, said the incident involving the girl had been a shock to everybody.

"It is an attraction of the tour that the spectators can get so close and be right next to the riders," he said. "You can hear them breathing. That's why they've avoided putting barriers up along the route. The down side to that is, of course, that people are not trained to watch bike races."

The Tour de France was back in France on Tuesday after the prologue and the first two stages in Ireland over the weekend.  

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Svorada wins Stage 2; Zabel takes the yellow jersey; Boardman crashes
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