Tirreno-Adriatico: Julian Alaphilippe recounts details of horrific crash in Strade Bianche

The world champion confirms he will race Tirreno-Adriatico on Monday despite a heavy fall in high-speed impact.

Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

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LIDO DI CAMIORE, Italy (VN) — One moment, Julian Alaphilippe was at the nose of the peloton on a decisive sector of gravel at Strade Bianche. In the next, he was somersaulting into the Tuscan sky.

The world champion recounted details of the horrific, high-speed crash that saw him fall heavily in Saturday’s Strade Bianche.

“It was a critical sector, and we knew there would be a strong side wind,” Alaphilippe recounted. “The team did a perfect job to have me in a perfect position.

“Sometimes in such a strong wind, it was difficult to stay on the bike. At one moment, I lost contact on the gravel, so I had to pull off one leg,” he described in a media call. “I still can come back on, but the Alpecin-Fenix rider came in front of me.”

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The wind was so strong it blew riders literally off their bikes. The gust pushed the Alpecin-Fenix rider directly into Alaphilippe and Jumbo-Visma’s Tiesj Benoot. They crashed at the front of the race, bringing down dozens more behind them.

Alaphilippe was catapulted over his handlebars after his front wheel went sideways, and he somersaulted to land hard on his back. He bounced up and then momentum pushed him back to the ground on his chest.

A bike belonging to another crashing rider behind him then landed on top of him.

“It’s part of the race, and crashing is part of the sport,” Alaphilippe said. “I don’t blame anybody. I am happy I finished the race. We will see tomorrow, it is still a beautiful race you want to win.”

Alaphilippe confirms he will start Tirreno-Adriatico

The world champion brushed off a high-speed crash in Saturday’s Strade Bianche and will line up at Tirreno-Adriatico as planned.

“I went for an easy ride today,” Alaphilippe said. “I am fine. Of course, I have pain in the back. I need to do massage, and to rest this afternoon.”

Alaphilippe raced a heroic race Saturday, chasing back to the lead group following his crash. When eventual winner Tadej Pogačar made his race-winning move, Alaphilippe simply didn’t have the legs to follow.

His crash and the hard chase back left him short of forces just when Pogačar attacked on the Sante Marie sector.

“Even before he accelerated, when I started the important sector, I was already à bloc,” he said. “I was already happy to come back in the bunch from strong support from my teammates. I did the sector full gas, and when Pogačar attacked, I just looked at him.

“I said already that I would start the season not at 100 percent, and I am building my shape to be on the top soon,” he said. “I am pushing for the next days, the next months.”

Alaphilippe said he will see how he feels in the time trial stage Monday at Tirreno-Adriatico.

It’s a relatively short effort, at 13.9km, so he’s hopeful he can get through it. His first major goals at Milan-San Remo and the Ardennes are coming up.

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