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Alaphilippe was the worst affected rider in the spill, but was initially not spotted by those on the road because he fell several feet into a ditch, and hit a tree.
The reigning world champion was taken to hospital, conscious and able to move his legs, according to reports. The initial footage showed Bardet — who had also crashed — scrambling down the ditch to his compatriot’s aid.
“It was just a nightmare,” an emotional Bardet told VeloNews at the finish in Liege.
“Tom Pidcock and a rider from DirectEnergies crashed in front of me on the right, and I crashed on the right too, but I was really OK,” he said. “When I looked around I saw Julian maybe five or six meters down, and it was an emotional shock because he was in a bad situation. No one was coming and he really needed help. It was an emergency situation. He couldn’t move, he couldn’t breathe.”
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Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl officials later told VeloNews that Alaphilippe “is stable and being checked over in hospital.”
Bardet was shaken up from what he saw.
“He felt conscious but he couldn’t really talk. I really hope that he’s OK. The mechanic came, then the doctor. The road was completely blocked,” Bardet said.
“A lot of guys were involved in a very bad situation. No one saw him, you couldn’t really see him from the road. It was a really bad situation. After that, I was in shock. The race was gone. I was lucky to escape with no injuries.”
— Louis L’Étang (@LouisLtg1) April 24, 2022
Bardet eventually left Alaphilippe when trained medics arrived on the scene. He would later chase back to the front of the race, but after witnessing the crash and Alaphilippe’s state, it was clear that Bardet’s focus had understandably slipped due to the circumstances.
“From day to day in cycling it can all change quickly. I felt super good and I was about to position myself with the team but racing after that crash racing doesn’t mean much,” he said. “It reminded me of the crash at the Tour when William Bonnet was involved. That was similar with so many guys involved. It was a bad situation.”
VeloNews will post news on Alaphilippe’s condition as soon as details are released by his team. Quick-Step came away with the win after Remco Evenepoel attacked with just under 30km to go.