Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) suffered two broken ribs, a fractured shoulder blade and a collapsed lung after crashing into a tree at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, while team-mate Ilan Van Wilder broke his jaw in the same incident.
The Frenchman, who had made no secret of targeting the Ardennes Monument, was among a swarm of riders to go down in a big pile-up with 60km remaining.
He was left in a ditch, with rival Romain Bardet (Team DSM) so alarmed at his compatriot’s flight that he walked down a steep slope to check on him, rather than set off in pursuit of the peloton.
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Alaphilippe was conscious when he was treated in the ambulance, with him and Van Wilder among the wounded taken to hospital.
“During the incident, Ilan has unfortunately suffered a broken jaw, in a crash that saw a mass pile-up in the middle of the peloton, 62 kilometres from the finish,” read a statement from Quick-Step,
“In the same incident, world champion Julian Alaphilippe suffered two broken ribs, a broken scapula and a hemopneumothorax [collapsed lung with complications]. His condition his stable, but will need to be hospitalised for observation.
“Both will travel by ambulance to Herentals [in Antwerp, Belgium] for further examination and treatment.”
“There are riders all over the road,” said Rob Hatch on Eurosport commentary.
“We have riders everywhere and this is an absolute disaster.
“This is one of the worst things we’ve seen in recent weeks in bike racing, this is an absolutely horrible crash.”
Alaphilippe’s co-leader Remco Evenepoel produced a brilliant attack and 29km time trial to secure victory.
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