Philippe Gilbert‘s bitter determination was clear to see as he got back on his bike and finished stage 16 of the Tour de France after a scary crash on the descent of the Col de Portet d’Aspet, but the pain that the Belgian was going through can only be imagined after he was diagnosed with a fractured knee cap.
Gilbert fell heavily as he led the race down the descent of the Col de Portet d’Aspet as he misjudged a corner, crashed over a low stone wall and down a drop on the side of the road.
Thankfully Gilbert was quickly back on his feet, being helped to climb back up to the road where he got back on his bike in some discomfort, falling back through the race as he received medical treatment.
Remarkably Gilbert still managed to finish the stage, completing the final 59km of the stage and climbing two first category climbs to get to the finish in Bagnères-de-Luchon in 142nd place, 31 minutes behind stage winner and team-mate Julian Alaphilippe.
Clearly in some discomfort, the Quick-Step Floors rider limped onto the podium to receive his combativity prize with blood still running down his left leg and soaking his socks. He also needed to be helped down the steps of the medical truck as he received treatment immediately after the stage.
X-rays later confirmed that Gilbert had suffered a fracture to his left patella which will see him off the bike for four to five weeks and out of competition for at least six weeks.
In a video posted on the Quick-Step Floors team Facebook page, Gilbert thanked both riders and fans for the support he had received after the crash.
“I’m very grateful for all the messages I have received on my phone and social media, and also to all the riders who passed me and asked me how I was,” Gilbert said.
“I’ve got a lot of support from the cycling family and it’s then that you see that it’s really a nice sport. You appreciate it when you get support in hard moments like that.”