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Yves Lampaert on Paris-Roubaix crash: ‘Losing the podium in that way is devastating’

The incident summed up Quick-Step's trials and tribulations during this year's northern classics campaign.

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Yves Lampaert went from riding for the podium to somersaulting over his handlebars in an instant Sunday late in Paris-Roubaix.

The Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl star was on the limit, but looked to have a wrap on a likely podium spot with 8km to go in the “Hell of the North” when his world was literally turned upside down by an over-zealous fan.

Lampaert clipped the fan’s outstretched arm, lost balance, and high-sided over his front wheel, resulting in a painful crash on his back. His hopes of saving his team’s Roubaix northern classics ambitions slid away as he lost contact with the leaders, later finishing 10th at 2:59 back.

“Losing the podium in that way is devastating,” Lampaert said. “I really think the podium was within touching distance.”

The Belgian star angrily cursed out the fan with a slur, calling him a “calf” to the media at the finish line, something he later apologized for despite losing podium chances.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have called him a ‘calf,'” Lampaert said on social media. “But still he was on the route. Let it be a lesson for everyone that you need to step back if you see the riders coming. I still love all the supporters, you were amazing today!”

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The incident summed up Quick-Step’s trials and tribulations during this year’s northern classics campaign.

“I don’t think I have injuries. If I would be here with only one leg or not doesn’t matter much to me. I came here for the podium and I have nothing. It is was it is,” he said. “It’s not the season of Quick-Step so far in the classics. My spring classics season is over now.”

Quick-Step fought to the end, with Florian Sénéchal and Lampaert representing team colors in an elite group going into the final decisive 50km.

Lampaert had the legs to go deep, and latched on with Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) to chase the attacking eventual winner Dylan van Baarle (Ineos Grenadiers).

With Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) chasing hard behind them, it appeared the pair would still make it to the velodrome to sprint for the final spots of honor.

Instead, he clipped a fan as he sped through a corner, appearing to either strike his handlebar or right arm, a jolt that threw him forward onto the top tube. Lampaert tried to control the bike, but was thrown off his line. His front wheel crossed on the cobblestones, and he was tossed over the handlebars.

Lampaert landed hard on his back, and luckily, he was not seriously injured. Because the race was busted into pieces, he was forced to ride a neutral support bike before the Quick-Step team car could pull through with his spare bike. By then, all podium hopes were lost.

“When I enter a corner, he doesn’t step back, but extends his arm,” Lampaert lamented. “I hit him and lost control of my handlebars. It’s a shame that something like this happens. Better stay at home if you don’t feel the race. Especially when the stakes are so great.”

Lampaert on late crash: ‘The disappointment is huge’

Lampaert didn’t arrive in the velodrome with the result he deserved. (Photo: Bas Czerwinski/Getty Images)

The 31-year-old Lampaert was the first to admit he wasn’t on winning form Sunday, but a podium would have been just rewards for the rough and tumble spring he’s endured with illness and other setbacks that kept him stuck in second gear.

“Honestly, I was not the strongest today,” he said. “I was at my limit, which I also made clear to Mohorič. Third was the maximum achievable. But I would have been happy with that. The two of us did everything to stay out of the grasp of the van Aert group. And I think we would have succeeded.”

Lampaert just can’t seem to find any luck at Roubaix.

Last year, he had great legs but suffered a mechanical late in the race. This year, he raced astutely, but didn’t have the legs to follow the winning accelerations.

“Hopefully I will ride the same race next year, but with the legs of last year,” he said.

“It’s just sad that some dumb-ass supporter like that kicked me off the bike. If you don’t know anything about cycling, please stay home. Don’t make it that dangerous for the riders.

“It’s a situation that shouldn’t happen in a race,” he said. “I was turning into the right-hand corner. Usually the fans take a step backward in such a situation. Instead of taking a step backwards he came to the front with his arms. He hit my arms and I lost control of my bike.

“I did a perfect race. It was hard and full-gas from the beginning, but I fought and did my best, managing to be part of that strong group with 50km to go,” Lampaert said. “Then, as soon as I sensed an opportunity, I accelerated, and things went really well once the group formed. I began hoping and thinking of a podium. Despite being a bit on my limit on the Carrefour de l’Arbre, I was confident and feeling that a top three was reachable, really within my grasp.

“What else can I say? When the crash happened, I tried to save it, but there was nothing to be done, and I hit the ground. I remounted and continued the race, but despite coming home in 10th place, the disappointment is huge thinking of what could have been.”