CYCLING – “We don’t cycle for times like this”. Romain Bardet evoked “a nightmare” to describe the big collective fall which caused the evacuation by ambulance of the world champion, Julian Alaphilippe, this Sunday April 24 in Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
The Frenchman from the DSM team went to rescue Alaphilippe (Quick-Step) who was lying on the side of the road, several meters from the road according to the TV images of this massive fall which occurred 60 kilometers from the finish.
Currently, Julian Alaphilippe is suffering from two broken ribs, a fractured shoulder blade and pneumothorax. His team, however, indicates that his condition is stable but that he remains under observation in the hospital this Sunday.
“It was an emergency”
“When I looked around I saw Julian 5 or 6 meters down and it was an emotional shock. No one was coming and he really needed help. It was an emergency situation”, declared Romain Bardet to the media after the arrival of the race which he left before its end.
“Tom Pidcock and a rider from TotalEnergies fell in front of me on the right and I also fell on the right, but I was doing really well,” Bardet explained to the specialized site Velonews. “Julian couldn’t move or breathe. He felt conscious but he couldn’t really speak. I really hope he is well”, continued the Auvergnat about the world champion who was evacuated conscious by the medical team.
Romain Bardet could not help comparing this scene with another, which occurred on the Tour de France in 2015 at the microphone of RMC, still in shock: “The last time I had this feeling, it was on the Tour de France when William Bonnet had fallen, it was the same scene”.
After the race, its winner, the Belgian Remco Evenepoel, spoke about the place of the fall, presenting his wishes for recovery to the injured riders: “I knew the road at this place downhill, I knew that it would go very fast. The best place to stand was in the middle of the road.”
An attitude welcomed by Martin Fourcade
For going directly into contact with his injured compatriot, Romain Bardet received a message of support from another French athlete. Five-time Olympic biathlon champion Martin Fourcade hailed “the values of sport in good and bad times”.
“First of all, good recovery to Julian Alaphilippe and thanks to Romain Bardet” tweeted the French biathlete after the end of the race, visibly marked by this altruistic gesture from the triple stage winner on the Tour de France.
The fall of Alaphilippe is the third in less than two months for the world champion. After a spectacular sun at the Strade Bianche in early March, it fell again, but without consequence, at the recent Flèche Brabançonne.
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